Dunleath Park in Downpatrick should be upgraded as a sports’ facility says SDLP Councillor Gareth Sharvin.
“Dunleath Park should be a top priority for Newry Mourne and Down District Council” says Cllr Gareth Sharvin.
“It needs to breathe life back into Downpatrick and develop the local sports and recreational facilities available for the people across Downpatrick, Lecale, Rowallane and further afield.”
The call for Dunleath Park to be a pillar of Newry Mourne and Down Council’s programme of works comes from the Downpatrick Councillor who recently presented a motion heard at council for the establishment of a working group for the development of Dunleath Park.
Downpatrick SDLP Councillor Sharvin said: “The importance of Dunleath Park as a recreational space to Downpatrick cannot be understated. It has provided a vital area of sports for decades within our district, but has been under-invested for some time and is leaving our area behind other council areas across the North.
“The objective of the SDLP’s motion through Cllr Curran, Cllr Trainor and myself, was for council to establish a working group of Downpatrick Councillors and council officers to carry out investigative work to identify what areas of Dunleath can be developed given the flood plain issues being faced in the area.
“Once that investigative work was completed, this would enable the working group to identify what facilities can be accommodated in the areas identified.
“And once that has been completed, the working group would get the project to a business case state for capital spend to be committed and the project to commence.”
Councillor Sharvin added: “This is the process the council undertakes for any project, but disappointingly the council do not seem to want to follow their own process used for other projects.
“At the recent Active and Healthy Communities committee, the item was discussed for a second time in two months, but this meeting was to reject the call for a working group as called out in my motion.
“Thankfully councillors rejected this recommendation from officers and a meeting of Downpatrick Councillors with officers is being held in the coming weeks to identify recommendations for the Active and Healthy Communities committee to consider.
“I am again saying that council cannot undervalue the importance of Dunleath to the area of Downpatrick.
“The area provides a great opportunity to really develop the area through walking trails around the perimeter of the site, upgrade the existing facilities and identify new facilities that can be delivered.
“Covid-19 has taught us all the importance of getting out and being active, and our Downpatrick town centre does not have a town park that provides all of that,” Councillor Sharvin added.