Larne playground refurbishment confirmed and ‘queue jumping’ concerns addressed
A refurbishment of Larne’s Boyne Square playground has been scheduled by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council next year as part of an ‘Out to Play’ strategy amid concerns over “queue jumping”.
The condition of the park at Old Glenarm Road, in the ‘Factory’ area of the town was highlighted at a meeting of the council earlier this week by Coast Road DUP Councillor Angela Smyth.
Cllr Smyth called for a new play park for the entire green space and requested the replacement to be a “top priority” for the local authority in its capital plan.
She also acknowledged the “positive work” being carried out by the Factory Community Forum group to improve the area.
She noted that the play park has reopened following a period of closure due to “safety reasons” adding that it remains in need of “an urgent upgrade”.
She told the meeting that child poverty in the district is 10 per cent higher than the average across east Antrim in a community.
She went on to say that community confidence had been “knocked” when the play park was closed during the summer with a protest held by parents and children who felt their area was being “left behind”.
“We must demonstrate our intent by engaging with key stakeholders.”
Commenting on concerns over “jumping the queue”, party colleague Coast Road Cllr Andrew Clarke pointed out that the chief executive has said this is “emphatically not the case”.
“I trust we can send a message that we will not leave any of our communities behind,” he stated.
Braid party colleague Cllr Beth Adger MBE noted: “There is a lot of other parks that need updated as well – Martinstown, Ballee, there is one in Lettercreeve that need badly looked at and Wilson Crescent – so those would need to be taken on as well.”
She pointed out that the Martinstown playground has been closed for three years.
Commenting on the Boyne Square park, Larne Lough Alliance Cllr Danny Donnelly said: “It is quite an old park. I believe it was built in 2002. It is great to hear it is being upgraded next year. It definitely needs it.”
Chief executive Anne Donaghy stated that the upgrade “will be in line with process”.
Bannside Sinn Fein Cllr Ian Friary said he welcomed the motion and asked for Martinstown, Cargan and Newtowncrommelin play parks to be included.
Ballymena SDLP Cllr Eugene Reid commented: “It is incumbent on all of us to work on behalf of all our constituents to make sure that things like play parks are up to a certain standard.”
He went on to say that elected representatives have been approached about parks through the borough – Martinstown, Newtowncrommelin and Fisherwick in Ballymena.
“This is our bread and butter and this is what we do for our constituents. We will all fight for our own individual play parks and will do everything we can to make sure they are progressed as soon as possible.”
Replacement playgrounds have been installed this year at Ballygally, outside Larne, Ballykeel, in Ballymena and Legg Park, Carrickfergus. Click here to read
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
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