Glasgow & West Scotland

Hopscotch chalk ban overturned after outcry from parents

Hopscotch game Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Children in Bishopbriggs are no longer banned from playing hopscotch

Residents are claiming a victory for common sense after a ban on children drawing hopscotch grids was reversed.

People living at a housing development in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, were stunned by a letter sent on Friday from factor Speirs Gumley.

It was from a local inspector who had noticed chalk drawings on the ground.

They were told "if these children belong to your family they (should) refrain from this practice immediately."

It said the markings detracted from the overall appearance of the property.

'Mean-spirited'

Parents were angry that their children were being discouraged from playing outside and that such a harsh stance was being taken over a seemingly harmless game.

Donald Macdonald, chairman of the local Woodhill Residents Group, told the BBC Scotland news website: "It seemed to be a bit mean-spirited.

"We want children to be outdoors not stuck in front of a screen. This would have just been another reason not to be outdoors."

Speirs Gumley is a sponsor of Glasgow-based charity Peek (Play for Each and Every Kid) whose mission it is to improve the lives of children and young people by unlocking their potential through play and by being creative.

On Monday, following a meeting at the Glasgow HQ of the property firm, an apology was issued.

Image copyright Google
Image caption An inspector had seen children draw in chalk on a tarmac path between properties

The company's director, Tom McKie, said; "I have to say I am disappointed that such a letter was issued by Speirs Gumley, and it was a poor judgment call on our part to do so.

"Admittedly, we do get these type of complaints from time to time in housing developments that we manage and, of course, we recognise that clients in the same development can hold differing views on how to resolve things.

"My view is that common sense should have prevailed, and it should have been dealt with more sensitively by us.

"We will of course be apologising to our clients for the handling of this."

Mr Macdonald was pleased with the U-turn.

He added: "We are delighted Speirs Gumley have realised the value of children having outdoor fun."

Local MP Jo Swinson said: "Parents of Bishopbriggs are absolutely right to be outraged. If anything, children playing outdoors enhances the local community and they should be encouraged to have active, healthy fun as much as possible.

"I'm pleased Speirs Gumley have come to their senses and issued an apology, and hope they will take this opportunity to continue to support initiatives that get children out and about."

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