Families in Cronberry have been left heartbroken and out of pocket after the council ordered that a new playpark they painstakingly created must be demolished because it is on agricultural land.

Parents and grandparents chipped in to buy around £1,000-worth of equipment for the small playpark, after land was donated by local farmer, Helen Fleming. The families also helped out with constructing the park.

But East Ayrshire Council has ordered that the equipment be removed, or the farmer faces a £600 payment.

Gerry Morrison, one of the grandparents involved in setting up the playpark, told the Chronicle: “It’s the sort of place we know where the kids are. You can see them out the window and see them safe.

“We’re very, very angry. You would be, especially after us building all that and the kids were overjoyed with it. Everybody helped, the parents and grandparents all chipped in for swings and stuff. It’s stuff that’s out a toy shop.

“A ‘child hater’ got in touch with the council.

“Then we’re told it can’t be used as a playpark because it’s agricultural land and if the farmer wants to change the use of the land she’ll have to pay £600.

“We’re so angry about it. There’s nothing here for the kids to do so we need that playpark. Lugar and Logan have playparks, Cumnock has a playpark. Cronberry doesn’t have anything. There’s not even a shop, there’s nothing here, just fields.

“It’s just going to be worse for whoever reported it because the kids are going to be running about.

“They might think they’ve won the battle, but they haven’t. It’s a rotten thing they’ve done. If we had the planning permission it might have been different.

“I just wish we could find whoever reported it.

“The swings and roundabouts will probably end up in someone’s’ garden now or the communal area and they won’t like that. It’s backfired on them.”

Michael Keane, head of Planning and Economic Development at East Ayrshire Council, advised: “The Planning Authority received a formal written complaint from a member of the public which alleged that an unauthorised change of use of agricultural land had taken place. A site inspection was carried out by Planning Enforcement, an enforcement case was then opened and contact was made with a representative of the Cronberry Residents’ Association.

“The association was advised that they had two options to resolve this breach – to submit a retrospective planning application to change the use of the area of land; or to remove all of the play equipment.

“As none of these options were taken up, the Planning Authority served a Planning Contravention Notice.

“Helpful discussions are currently ongoing with the landowner which will hopefully lead to a resolution of the matter.

“Colleagues from Vibrant Communities have also met with members of the local community and offered advice and assistance.”