Park group wonder if they have a future

Duchess Park Friends Group have put up a history of the park on the noticeboard to celebrate the centenary
Duchess Park Friends Group have put up a history of the park on the noticeboard to celebrate the centenary

Duchess Park Friends Group has called on North Lanarkshire Council to decide if they still have a future.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Duchess of Hamilton Park and the group have produced a display for the noticeboards showing some of its history.

However, 15 years after they formed the group fear they’ve outlived their usefulness as council officials no longer attend their monthly meetings in St Mary’s Church Hall.

Group member John Aitken explained: “We always had a council officer at our meetings and they were great with us and offered all sorts of advice.

“However, in recent times we’ve lost that direct link as the last official who attended took early retirement and doesn’t seem to have been replaced.

“If we aren’t able to influence how the park moves forward then is there any point in us existing?”

The park’s popularity had fallen over the decades as facilities including the bandstand, paddling pool, putting green, giant draughts board and toilets were removed.

However, it has found a new lease of life iwith a skate park, multi-use area, Spanish Civil War memorial and £100,000 soon to be spent upgrading the play facilities.

Motherwell West councillor Meghan Gallacher requested council officials attend the next meeting.

She said: “I have asked for someone to go to this month’s meeting, but if not I’ll be there to provide whatever help I can.

“The group have done a great job over the last 15 years and I certainly hope they will continue.”

Local regeneration manager Jonathan Smith is currently on annual leave, but the Times has been told he’ll be in touch with the group on his return.