‘Build Carnlough play park’

editorial image

A petition has been launched to urge the council to restart work on a children’s play park in Carnlough which was meant to have opened in 2015.

Construction of the new £100,000 play park in the Croft Road area was put on hold by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council last June, after asbestos was discovered at the site.

Then, this May, councillors decided to allow the asbestos to remain and to place a copping layer of 600mm over the entire site.

At that time, a council spokesperson said that a recommencement date and build costs could not be confirmed, and that the local authority was “currently in discussions with the contractor to obtain costings for the amended scheme.”

Now, over three months later, frustrated residents have launched a petition work failed to restart on the project.

“This situation wouldn’t be tolerated in any other area of the borough,” said Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown.

“I have spoken to the Chief Executive and other council officers at every opportunity and have been told that they are meeting with contractors, meeting on prices, and nothing has progressed.

“The project was meant to have taken 10 to 12 weeks to complete and we were hoping it would have been open for summer 2015, there is a great demand for the facility in the area but people are very disillusioned now.

“There’s nothing but weeds at the site now, it’s derelict and all the soil has been pushed up, there’s nothing for the kids to play on.”

Amid mounting frustration, members of the Croft Residents’ Group have launched a petition calling on the council to “honour their agreement to erect a play park as a matter of urgency.”

So far, the petition has gathered 136 signatures, and Cllr McKeown plans to present it to the council’s chief executive at the end of this week.

“This would make a big change for the village, particularly at the North end which is lacking in community facilities,” Cllr McKeown continued.

“The petition shows the frustration and anger which is being felt in the village.

“I feel that Carnlough has been left way behind by the council; we have projects happening in Larne, Carrick, Ballymena and in Glenarm they have a major project with the Glenarm regeneration scheme which costs a lot of money.

“However Carnlough hasn’t benefitted at all, there doesn’t seem to be the same political impetus to have anything done.

“When you look at the money that the council have spent on other projects in the last 18 months you are talking about very, very little to move forward.”

A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council told the Times that the council would be meeting with contractors this week to discuss the new play park.

“The design issue is being dealt with and council are at this point very hopeful that this issue will be sorted out and that work will commence as soon as possible,” he stated.