LAST Thursday residents in Ardglass young and old were given a unique opportunity to have their say about the future of the village.
With funding support received under the Village Renewal Measure, which is being part funded under Axis 3 and 4 of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 by the European Union and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and with support from the NI Housing Executive, the Ardglass Residents Group ran a Planning for Real day from 2-9pm in St Nicholas’ Primary School. The group has also been assisted by the County Down Rural Community Network.[caption id="attachment_43970" align="alignleft" width="390"] Mentor Consultant Frank Dolaghan and Cllr Dermot Curran, left, with local residents from Ardglass during the community consultation in St Nicholas’ Primary School.[/caption]
Lizzie Walsh, Chairperson of the Residents Group, said: “We received funding to enable us to employ the consultancy firm Mentor Economic Developments Ltd to help us prepare a new development plan for the village. We chose Mentor because they use a very innovative community consultation tool called Planning for Real.
“In recent weeks the consultants have been working with school children from St Nicholas’ Primary School to build a large three dimensional model of the village and we would like to thank school principal Mr Fitzsimons and the boys and girls for all their help. The model went on public display in the school on Thursday 24 October.
“Local residents were invited to come in and view the model and browse through the 400 different idea cards available covering everything from education to traffic, and from health to crime and safety, and environment to community safety. They could then fill in sheets and include their views and ideas.
“The great thing is that no-one has to stand up and speak so it is very easy to make a contribution. We are also conducting a household survey as a second way of gathering opinion from local residents. Our group is delighted to have this opportunity because we need a plan to help us look for funding to develop our village. Our chances of securing funding are greater if we can demonstrate that we have the support of the people of the village.”
MP Welcomes Ardglass Village PlanMargaret Ritchie, Member of Parliament for South Down, has welcomed the consultation event on the Ardglass Village Plan, which took place last Thursday. Ms Ritchie said: “I was pleased to attend this important event for the future of Ardglass development. [caption id="attachment_43971" align="alignright" width="390"] Planning for Real in Ardglass.[/caption] “Local people supported the consultation and invested considerable time in putting their ideas forward on a wide spectrum, including future areas for recreation and trying to ensure the impact of anti-social behaviour is mitigated. “I have no doubt, with the community support for this project, it will harness the unique heritage of the fishing village of Ardglass for future generations.