Play area may replace Palacerigg animals

Rare North Ronaldsay sheep can be found at Palacerigg.
Rare North Ronaldsay sheep can be found at Palacerigg.

Plan to remove rare breeds as part of council bid to save £167,000

The move is contained in the council’s list of options for cuts which with see the development of the park as a woodland play facility by the removal of the animal collection, as well as reconfiguring the greenspace service, in order to save £167,000.

Palacerigg is famous for being home to many rare breeds,such as North Ronaldsay and Boreray sheep, Bagot goats, Tamworth pigs and Scots grey and Scots dumpy poultry.

The two breeds of sheep and the breed of pig are described as ‘vulnerable’, while the goat breed is ‘endangered’ and the two breeds of poultry are designated ‘priority’ according to the The Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s watch list of rare native breeds. The trust has worked closely with Palacerigg over the years, but stated this proposed development came as a surprise to them.

Northern field officer Ruth Dalton said: “I have worked closely with Palacerigg over the years and this is the first I’ve heard of this!

“I’ve just arranged a North Ronaldsay ram for them to use this year and there was no hint all the animals were going to go.”

North Lanarkshire Council is facing a £21.8 million cut to its budget for the 2018/19 financial year, assuming there is a three per cent council tax increase, this will raise around £3 million.

The council already has plans in place to save £9.7 million from its forthcoming budget but savings of more than £8 million still need to be found.

Council officers have developed a range of saving options to the value of £14.7 million, that can be viewed online or picking up an information leaflet from libraries, and are asking for the public’s feedback.

Drop-in sessions has been organised to meet with community engagement teams and talk through the options at Kilsyth Library on Wednesday, January 31, and Cumbernauld Library on Monday, February 5, both from noon–2pm.

Council chief executive Paul Jukes said: “Everyone will have different opinions on how we make these savings, depending on how you use and interact with council services.

“It’s important to remember that these are options, not decisions that have been made. That’s why it’s vital that we hear from you. Your feedback is important and will help to influence how we make those savings.”