Parents of disabled kids hit out at developer over land deal

DISABLED children have been left fuming after council bosses handed their local playground over to a private developer.

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Peter Walker, with son Stephen, and Liz McCafferty, with daughter Cara, are angry that the children have nowhere to play
Peter Walker, with son Stephen, and Liz McCafferty, with daughter Cara, are angry that the children have nowhere to play

Angry parents at Hampden Primary School say their children have received nothing from housebuilder Bett in return for land handed over nearly a decade ago.

Glasgow City Council bosses leased a chunk of the special needs school's playground to the firm in 2005 under a regeneration scheme for the Oatlands area – a scheme which has stalled.

However, now parents say the local authority negotiated a poor deal with Bett that has robbed their children of promised benefits from the deal.

Peter Walker, who chairs Hampden's parent council, said: "School property was given to Bett, who turned it into back gardens and allotments for residents.

"In exchange the council arranged for the school to get a new wet play area, a turning area for taxis and buses and a new school garden, but these have never materialised.

"We think the council should have stipulated in its contract with Bett that the school got some benefit first."

Mr Walker's son Stephen, 9, who has cerebral palsy, is one of the children who would have benefited from either the playground – or the promises made by Bett in return for it.

Bett, as we revealed last month, paid a nominal fee of £1 for the entire Oatlands scheme.

The work at Hampden Primary School is only scheduled to be done at the end of the entire project.

Glasgow City Council, the Evening Times can reveal, in 2010 offered to let Bett drop its more expensive commitments to Hampden School in return for a donation of around £40,000 worth of new play equipment.

Bett refused that deal. The school had to ask other companies and charities to pay so Stephen and the other children could play.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "The council did make this offer, and Bett declined, preferring to stick to the terms of the development agreement to provide an indoor play area at Hampden school – an extension of the building – at a later stage in the development."

Local SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter said: "The questions parents have raised about the process are valid and they deserve answers."

A Bett Homes spokeswoman said: "We have fulfilled our initial obligation to the school to provide a new boundary wall and new vehicular access.

"The outstanding works, which include an indoor and outdoor playground, are due to be implemented following the completion of 860 private dwellings as per the development agreement."

david.leask@eveningtimes.co.uk

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