South Scotland SNP MSP, Joan McAlpine has written to Scottish Conservative Spokesperson for Mental Health, Public Health and Equalities, Annie Wells MSP, to ask that she remind Conservative party colleagues in Dumfries and Galloway Council of their obligation to support equal opportunities for disabled children.


Ms McAlpine made the intervention following reports that the four Conservative Party councillors had voted against awarding planning permission for the Catherine Street Inclusive Play Park and Community Garden development in Dumfries last week.


The councillors in question, David James, Ian Carruthers, Doug Fairbairn and Ian Blake, had been taking part in a meeting of the council’s planning committee on the 17th January when they voted to reject the application. 


Commenting Ms McAlpine says,


“The organisation behind Catherine Street Inclusive Play Park is a voluntary group made up of parents of disabled children, working with local families to create opportunities for all children, regardless of ability, to enjoy play. This is something that Dumfries & Galloway council support, having already allocated half a million pounds in funding to promote inclusive play across the region.


“It beggars belief that these four tory councillors voted to deprive disabled kids of this amazing opportunity to take part in play activities alongside their friends and siblings instead of having to watch from the side-lines. Fortunately, a greater number of councillors saw the value of the proposal so the planning permission was granted and the project will now proceed.


“As Spokesperson for Mental Health, Public Health and Equalities, I know that providing disabled children with equal access to play will be something Annie Wells takes very seriously. I hope, therefore, that she’ll condemn the actions of her colleagues and remind them of that they should be supporting equal play opportunities for disabled children.”




Minutes of planning committee meeting on 17th January 2019