Heat Turned Up On Council Over Lough Park Development Proposal

Lough Park Proposals – Council Must Act Now Says Shannon

Jim Shannon MP for Strangford has urged Down District Council to act immediately and support the Lough Park proposals for the football project by Ballynahinch Olympics and community partnership.

He said: “Down District Council as far back as January 2012 agreed to make available £400, 000 within the rates exercise for the £910,000 project with £510 000 coming from grant allocations. However, since then there has been much exchange of information between Down District Council and Groundwork NI which has been frustratingly long. The effect of this is that the project could well run out of time due to bureaucracy.

dn_screen“After meeting at the Market House in Ballynahinch with interested parties that included Temple Rangers, Langley Road Association member ALL there to lend support to the £1 Million project, I emailed the Chief Executive of Down District Council to encourage and hopefully see a speeding up of the process.

“Although there are some issues that need looked at I have been informed that all pertinent information has been forwarded by Groundwork NI and therefore I call on Down District Council to push this project urgently.  The monies needed are in the rates, and the project will deliver a truly magnificent all weather playing surface in Ballynahinch.

“It has the support of all of the community and therefore Council impetus is now needed. I know the matter will be discussed at tonight’s  Council meeting and hopefully the decision will be taken to give the Lough Park proposal the Green Light and things will start to move forward.”

Coogan Speaking On Lough Park Project

Ballynahinch Independent Councillor Mickey Coogan speaking at last Monday’s meeting of the Down District Council Recreation committee has welcomed the decision to support a number of applications from local community groups including Killyleagh YC.

However, during later discussion on funding on the Council’s Capital spend programme,  Councillor  Coogan said, expressed his anxiety about the Lough View project.

He said:  “I have serious concerns about progress or the lack of progress made on the Lough Park scheme in Ballynahinch. We have just supported a number of local schemes in recognition of the fact that local community groups have secured funding yet there is a concern that Council are holding up progress on the Lough Park scheme, a scheme where the local community have secured over half a million pounds in funding.

“The Ballynahinch Olympic and Hillcrest Drive Community Partnership working with GroundworkNI brought their proposals for funding to complete the first phase of their project to the Councils Policy and Resources committee in January. They presented a business case with the groups preferred option for location and cost to Council but were asked to relocate the scheme in order to accommodate potential future plans of the Council. The group agreed and Council agreed to fund the scheme up to a maximum of £400,000. “Since then the group have been asked to provide additional information all of which has been provided. The main concern of the public and I share those concerns is that Council are dragging their heels on this scheme and that there is a lack of communication between senior Council staff both internally and certainly with the community. “At a recent meeting between the group and senior Council officers, I asked what were the outstanding issues and a number of actions were agreed.” Councillor Coogan explained that feelings had become frayed at the meeting between Council officials and the group representatives.

He added: “It is for this reason that I have asked the Chairperson of the Recreation Committee to raise this as an urgent late item on the Council agenda as I believe Council need to send a clear message to the Community in Ballynahinch that they will uphold their end of the bargain. Anything short of a full assurance would be unacceptable,” added  Councillor Coogan.