STRATH residents are angry and appalled at the state of the Braidhaugh following a visit to Crieff by the circus.
Many people enjoyed a trip to the big top but the well used playing fields have paid a heavy price.
And when the entourage pulled out of town a lorry hit one of the listed George V commemorative pillars, reducing it to rubble.
The fence separating the children’s play park from the road is also damaged, having being ripped off its uprights in places.
Councillor Rhona Brock thinks that Perth and Kinross Council should never have allowed the circus to be sited at Braidhaugh. Many people believe the hard standing at Market Park would have been a more suitable venue.
Councillor Brock is seeking answers from PKC and vows she will be monitoring the situation until the three areas are made good.
She told the Herald: “I don’t think the circus should have been allowed to stop here in the first place, particularly with the weather we’ve been having. I have been given assurances that the bill will lie with the circus and I won’t let this drop until things are put right.
“I’ve been told that the pitches should be rectified within three weeks. The pillar will probably take a bit longer. Luckily, the commemorative plaque on it was rescued and handed in to police.”
Councillor Brock said she was particularly saddened that the football pitches used by Crieff Juniors are now unplayable and the tenacious Crieff resident will be pressing for PKC to offer the community campus pitches to the Juniors free of charge.
She added: “I think it’s up to the council to find them an alternative as it’s through no fault of their own that they’ve lost their pitch.”
Crieff Juniors U16 coach Peter McRitchie agreed that the situation is disappointing for the area’s young footballers, who use the pitch for their fun fours, soccer sevens and 11-a-side training. With the start of the new season looming, it could not have happened at a worse time.
He said: “The pitch and surrounding area have been churned up with deep ruts so we can’t even train on it. It would be too dangerous.
“It’s going to cost a lot of money to put the playing fields back to normal. Until there are no ruts and the grass is growing again we can’t play there. It’s going to put more pressure on other local pitches as well.”
Crieff Juniors chairperson Dave Graham said: “We are limited for training space anyway. This is a health and safety hazard.
“The wee pitch is not going to be playable. We should still be able to use the main pitch, although part of that is damaged too.
“This is going to have an impact on our pre-season friendlies. With the amount of teams Crieff Juniors has now, we need all the space we can get.
“We had the same problem the last time the circus was here and I complained to the council about it then. This time the damage is even worse.
“For the benefit of the kids we would like to see this sorted as soon as possible. Without this pitch we are restricted in what we can do.”
A PKC spokesperson said: “We are currently assessing the extent of the damage to Braidhaugh Park with a view to arranging for repairs to the entrance pillar and fence restoration works on the football pitches as soon as is practicably possible.
“We will be pursuing the expenses of these works with the circus operators.”