Calls For Development In Newry Increasing Into 2021

Newry's Heritage Must Be Enhanced, Not Hampered By Southern Relief Road Says Sinn Féin.

Newry’s Heritage Must Be Enhanced, Not Hampered By Southern Relief Road Says Sinn Féin.

Newry Councillor Roisin Mulgrew has said that “the future of the Albert Basin and Newry Canal cannot be hampered by the Southern Relief Road,” reports Jim Masson.

The area around the Island Park in Newry could be further developed to stimulate economic life in Newry.

That was the very clear message given to Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon by the Newry Mourne and Down Sinn Féin elected representatives at a special council meeting held on Monday with DfI Roads Service officials.

Cllr Roisin Mulgrew speaking after the meeting said: “These are incredibly exciting times for Newry. The council is actively working on proposals for a top of the range city centre park, a new civic centre and theatre complex, a public realm scheme and new office spaces which will locate several jobs in Newry, rather than Belfast.

“There is no doubt that these developments will act as a stimulus for the local economy and will hopefully provide a significant boost to the night time economy, helping Newry grow and develop.”

Cllr Roisin Mulgrew.

Speaking on the issue of a lifting bridge over the Canal and river, Cllr Mulgrew said: “

“In light of these major plans and investment already secured, the Sinn Féin team believe that we have one opportunity to ensure the design of the Southern Relief Road is done right and in the interests of the people of Newry. In our view, this requires a lifting bridge over the canal and river.

“A fixed structure across the canal and river would seal the fate of the Basin and hamper any chance of future development of the historic, and hugely significant Newry Canal. 

“A non-opening bridge would restrict visiting vessels coming into the Basin, which we in Sinn Féin hope will become an attractive recreational destination for residents and tourists alike.”

Cllr. Mulgrew added: “Investment on this scale, coming to Newry is massively welcome, but must be spent in a way that will enhance our city and unlock further potential in the years ahead.

“In terms of tourism potential in the Newry area, no projects rival the sympathetic restoration of the Newry Canal and the development of a top of the range park on the Albert Basin site.”   


Albert Basin Park in Newry At Centre of Row Over A Poster.

Council Questioned By Newry 2020 Group Over Infographic.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council came under fire in November following the publication of an infographic on their social media pages referring to a Newry City regeneration scheme with building commitments and projects over the coming years, but the infrographic did not include the 15-acre Island Park as a key project thus prompting one local group to call it a “slap in the face, ” writes Kevin McAteer.

However, a spokesperson for the Council said: “The infographic referred to was prepared to support Newry Mourne and Down District Council’s advertorials published in the district papers week beginning 9 November 2020. 

“As noted on the social media feeds, the info graphic focuses on the projects that form the Outline Business Case submission to the Belfast Region City Deal.  The Albert Basin Park project does not form part of the submission to the Belfast Region City Deal Programme.”

“The Newry 2020 group, which has fought consistently for the development of the City Centre Park at the Albert Basin site in Newry, were unhappy with the infographic.

Speaking on the issue, a spokesperson for the Newry 2020 group added: “Firstly, the incredible public response and depth of feeling on Facebook on this matter speaks for itself.

“Secondly, Council claim that this advertising campaign is only about City Deal elements – and yet that is not what is stated on their poster. The poster clearly says it is about ‘Newry City Centre Regeneration’.

“Our elected representatives have told us again and again they support the park. We are already over a year behind schedule according to the council’s own timeline. Proper capital funding needs to be allocated and a project team needs to be appointed now.”

A spokesperson for the Council responded and said: “It was agreed in September 2019 by Newry Mourne and Down District Council that each Councillor be permitted to submit one Notice of Motion each month.

“Under Standing Orders these motions can either be debated at the Council Meeting or deferred to a relevant Committee. Officers prepare reports on the Notice of Motion and this is tabled at the relevant meeting. Councillors debate the motions and decide whether they are passed or not. If passed then officers are generally tasked with actions arising from same.

“In terms of decisions being legally-binding, decisions of Council are subject to the ‘call-in’ procedure under Council’s standing orders, which may lead to a decision being reconsidered.

“Decisions are also potentially subject to challenge by way of Judicial Review, which may ultimately affect the decision taken.  Failure by Council to properly implement a decision may also lead to legal challenge.”

“Newry Mourne and Down District Council appointed a specific Task and Finish Working Group to progress a City Park at the Albert Basin in Newry as a result of a notice of motion in 2017.

“The action sheets from this working group are reported to the Council’s Strategy Policy and Resources Committee, outlining the progress. Minutes of the Council’s Strategy Policy and Resources Committee are available on the Council’s website.”