16 Playparks To Get £500,000 Upgrades

An additional £500,000 has been secured by Newry Mourne and Down District Council from the Rural Development Project for the upgrade of 16 playparks across the district.

The major funding boost along with cash from the Council’s capital budget will be used to design and upgrade low value play parks as identifies on the play strategy.

Four of these playparks as part of the Community Consultation have been identified as not being the preferred locations within Killough, Newtownhamilton, Ballyholland and Forkhill.

Reporting officer Conor Haughey, Council Head of Outdoor Recration, said: “Playboard NI carried out further Community Consultation and using the Field in Trust Standards have made recommendations for re-location of these playparks.

Killough car park.

Killough: existing Council car park.

Ballyholland: GAA ground to rear of Community Centre.

Forkhill : Old Army Base (amalgamating Fairview and Bog Road parks).

Newtownhamilton:  Jim Steen Park.

“All work needs to be completed by March 2019 to comply with funding requirements. Therefore, in order to deliver this large, capital programme, planning permission is required for all four parks and land transfer is also required for Ballyholland.”

The overall cost of the projects will be £1.2 million.

Cllr Barra O Muiri said: “I wish to make an amendment to the officer’s proposal by requesting an extension of a week to allow a further consultatio

The Council officer explained that further consultation would require a 3-step process of online consultation and further meetings but technically could be done within two weeks. The overall strategy was in fact based on a single consultation on each area.”

Conor Haughey presented the recommendations and councillors discussed the issues. Cllr Barra O Muiri who lives in Newtown said that he would like an extended consultation for another week to finalise issues.

Cllr Kate Loughran said: “I am delighted we are making progress with the playparks. These playparks need to be delivered. We only have until March 2019 to achieve this so any delays would be a risk.”

Cllr David Taylor said: “This has already been out to consultation and people have had the opportunity to discuss this. I would be concerned at an attempt to try and create a different resolution. It would cause concern for other groups. The play strategy should be trying to develop positive proposals for a community. I don’t think any delays will benefit anyone.”

The approval of the committee minute at the next full Council meeting  this coming Monday will rubber stamp this decision and work will commence to complete to play parks by March 2019.