Asbestos to stay at Carnlough play park site

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Construction has yet to begin on a new play park in Carnlough, more than a year after asbestos was discovered at the site.

The planned facility in the Croft Road area of the village has been an ambition of the local community for the past seven years.

Dungannon-based firm McGuigan Construction Ltd commenced work on the site in April 2015, but the project was suspended after the potentially deadly contamination was found.

The discovery left Mid and East Antrim Council facing a costly clean-up bill, and there were fears the projected cost of the scheme could soar to twice its original £100,000 estimate.

Since that time, the local authority has been working with the contractor to redesign the site and to ensure that it is made suitable for the construction of the play park.

And the Times has learned that, rather than undertaking the costly exercise of removing the contaminated material, the council has decided to implement a different method.

A spokesman said: “After site investigations, it was deemed best to allow the asbestos to remain and to place a copping layer of 600mm over the entire site.

“This resulted in the layout being amended to accommodate new levels. Council is currently in discussions with the contractor to obtain costings for the amended scheme. At this time, the build costs cannot be confirmed, nor can a date to recommence work on site.”

Coast Road councillor James McKeown said he was disappointed with the delay to the project, but added: “Safety must always take priority. Hopefully we will be in a position to move forward soon.”