YOUNGSTERS in Johnstone will soon be able to enjoy a variety of new equipment and games at a well-used play park.

The improvements at Thomas Shanks Park, which are set to be completed by the end of August, will see the installation of a new basket swing, inclusive roundabout, cone climber and various game panels.

The £57,500 project is being funded by a previous capital investment and Local Area Committee funding.

The Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund has since been established to finance similar projects.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, convener of Renfrewshire’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted that the works to the play park are underway as they will be a fantastic addition to the park and will encourage young people to get out in the fresh air and enjoy their surroundings.

“We’re continually working to provide improved and more inclusive play equipment within our play parks and the range of equipment being installed here will ensure that all children will be able to enjoy their local play area.

“It’s been great to work closely with Friends of Shanks Park to develop and implement these improvements and I would encourage any other local people or groups to come forward with their suggestions.”

However, the condition of Thomas Shanks Park continues to be a source of frustration for many people in Johnstone, who feel it has been neglected by Renfrewshire Council in favour of towns such as Paisley.

Tom Wallace, chair of Johnstone Community Council, told The Gazette: “It is a nice start but it is nowhere near what the park needs.

“The council is in dire straits right now financially due to the impact of Covid-19, so we’re not expecting anything major to be done at the park at this time.

“However, once these financial issues have been dealt with, we need a lot more investment than what’s been put into the park so far.

“Successive councils have left Thomas Shanks Park to go to seed and we just want it to be brought up to the same standards as Barshaw Park and Robertson Park, with the same amount of funding and amenities.

“The people of Johnstone deserve a proper park, not a third-rate field with a broken water fountain and one wee corner where there is decent play park equipment.”

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