A historic Glasgow park has fallen into disrepair despite campaigners battling for years to improve it.
The fight to upgrade Victoria Park has intensified since we revealed that six of Glasgow's parks were awarded the Government Green Flag for high standards.
Earlier this month we reported how former Taggart star Colin McCredie had slammed the council for the "disgusting condition" of the play area.
Simon Parsons, chairman of Friends of Victoria Park, which was set up 18 months ago to protect and develop the "valuable and popular community asset", echoed his comments. He said the lack of investment in the park is an ongoing issue and it is second-rate compared to other parks nearby.
Simon said: "We are really just a group of concerned local residents. We've seen how the park has deteriorated and, while there's various reasons we accept for that, like government cutbacks, we've also seen the investment that's gone into Kelvingrove and other parks. We feel that we've been somewhat neglected."
Simon, 42, from Jordanhill, uses the park frequently with his family. He said they have tried to raise the issues with the council, but have been told they need to wait for the release of a Park Management Plan. The problem, says the surveyor, is that this has been subject to a series of delays.
Simon said: "The council have indicated that they're publishing a managing plan. It was originally going to be produced in December last year, and we wrote and received notification that it just wasn't ready.
"We've found it quite frustrating, but we hope that it will now come out next month.
"We feel like we're like a kind of second-tier park, even though we're well-used. There are no facilities in the play park for children with special needs so we've been trying to encourage this, but we keep being told we need to wait for the master plan.
"There's clearly a drainage problem with the park, which has turned into a bit of a quagmire, and we had highlighted that the maze is an accident waiting to happen. We do get on with the Land and Environmental Service Officers, who I think are well-intentioned and do want these changes, but its the funding and the management plan that seems to be holding everything up."
Councillor Graeme Hendry, SNP, said: "It's at least a year now since I first raised queries about the quality of the play park.
"Victoria Park is in its 125th year and the council has just given money to help replace the gates, so there is some investment going in.
"The question is, why is it taking so long? I've been complaining about it for two years, people have been complaining about it for longer than that. Why the constant delays on it, why don't we get it in action now?
"Victoria Park is going to be a park next to Scotstoun sports centre, which is going to be used for the Commonwealth Games, so we really must get it completed in time for 2014. But the council wants to fix what's there, they don't want to deal with the underlying problem which is that it's not satisfactory."
He also thinks that further toilet and catering facilities will be a welcome addition to the park, with the current 'temporary' toilets having been in place for a number of years.
He said: "There's a real demand for a cafe where people can sit to have a cup of tea or a bite of lunch or a refreshment.
"The park is used every day by a lot of local people, grandparents looking after local kids, childminders, nurseries.
"There's going to be a demand for it."
Councillor Hendry also spoke of his plans to create a council-led working group.
This would include local relevant parties, such as the FOVP and community councils and more cross-party councillors in order to have a direct input in the Master Plan and create realistic timescales for changes.
A Glasgow City Council spokesman, said: "Considerable recent investment has been undertaken in Victoria Park including the Fossil Grove and the new swings installed at the play area.
"A funding package is being finalised with the FOVP for the refurbishment of the Jubilee Gates.
"We are also consulting with the FOVP in relation to a new use being found for the former crazy golf area.
"Victoria Park does not qualify for Glasgow Housing Association funding and, until recently, did not qualify for Community Planning Partnership funding.
"These external sources have brought nearby parks up to a similar level of investment as Victoria Park's over the last four years."
If you'd like to get involved with Friends of Victoria Park, visit twww.fovp- glasgow.co.uk.
EARLIER this month the Evening Times reported that the children's play area in Victoria Park had fallen into shocking disrepair. Since then Glasgow City Council has responded by making the following badly-needed improvements:
l The fence at the maze has been subject to sporadic vandalism and the local depot has removed it to eradicate any potential for future damage. The service has ordered additional plant material to thicken up and reduce the gaps in the hedge.
l The grass maintenance had been suspended for a short period due to the recent inclement weather; however the area has now been cut.
l The HERAS fencing and graffiti at the play park have now been removed
l The local depot is investigating the drainage issue and has arranged to rod the drains in the hope that this will alleviate the flooding at the play area following this period of sustained inclement weather.
l The play area carpet has been topped-up with the appropriate sand to improve the surface.
l The broken swing has been repaired by the services' technical section.