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County Armagh play park plans: Find out if YOUR area features on development list!

An outdoor gym at Loughgall and a state-of-the-art play park at Gosford Forest Park are among the local facilities currently being planned across Armagh City and District.

Following the recent opening of play parks at Darkley and Hamiltonsbawn, Armagh I is able to bring local people up to speed with other planned works across the district – who will benefit and who will not.

A briefing paper was recently sent to all Armagh City and District councillors, providing a progress report on its play development programme, the current facilities and what the next step is for many areas.

Check below for details or what is happening in YOUR area:

Outdoor Gym, Loughgall – A funding application has just recently been submitted to the Public Health Agency (PHA) seeking funding towards an outdoor gym. The total cost of the project is £20,000 with the council seeking £15,000. The Department of Agriculture have given their approval for the proposed development to proceed.

Hamiltonsbawn – Work was completed at the beginning of October with the site officially opened to both the school and the wider community on 14th October 2014. To date the new play park has been well received by everyone.

Darkley – Work was completed at the beginning of October with the site officially opened to both the school and the wider community on 5th November 2014. To date the new play park has been well received by everyone.

Mountnorris – Tenders were due back for this particular project by Monday past, 24th November 2014 and it is hoped to appoint the successful contractor before Christmas, which will enable them to commence the contract in January 2015.

A planning application has been submitted plus officers are still working with the Trustees of the Millennium Hall in order to secure a Licence Agreement/lease on the site.

Milford – Tenders were also due back for this project on Monday 24th November 2014 and it is hoped to appoint the successful contractor before Christmas. Again, it will enable them to start the contract in January 2015.

Clady – Tenders were again due on Monday past, with a contractor to be appointed pre-Christmas and work beginning in January. Council officers are still working with the Housing Executive in order to finalise the lease for the site.

Annaghmore – Discussions have taken place with the principal of the local Primary School in order to try and identify a site within the school grounds for a play area. Unfortunately the school is land locked and there is no available space.

The SELB were looking at purchasing a portion of land to the rear of the school to develop a football pitch which could also facilitate a council play area.

Due to the ongoing modernisation programme taking place within education the Department of Education have rejected the SELB request to consider purchasing the additional land. Discussions are ongoing with the SELB in relation to this particular issue.

Poyntzpass – Discussions are continually ongoing with a representative from the local Community Association regarding finding a suitable site. Discussions are also ongoing with the SELB regarding setting up a meeting with the local primary school principal to see if they would reconsider their decision regarding developing a new play park on the school site.

Drumarg, Callanbridge and Mullacreevie – these sites are subject to funding. Careful consideration must be given before any decision is taken to provide fixed play areas on these sites.

As there is limited space this will ultimately result in limited play value which in turn, councillors have been told, could attract anti-social behaviour to these sites.

Longstone – subject to funding

Mullaghbrack, Annahugh and Drumnahuncheon – Council to consider if it is appropriate to reinvest in these sites.

Ashgrove, Markethill – The council has just appointed consultants to devise a development plan for Markethill. The key objectives of the project are to identify the short, medium and long term needs of Markethill, and to ensure that the community are empowered to develop a shared vision for their local area.

The development plan is intended to provide a framework in which a partnership approach to identifying and securing resources to address the needs of the area can be promoted. The needs should be informed and shaped by the respective communities’ values and aspirations.

Until this work has been undertaken no decision can be made in relation to the development of a new play park for Markethill.

Gosford Forest Park – Forestry NI have the funding for the delivery of the play park identified within their overall spend, but they are still waiting on ‘final accounts’ for some of the works that have already been undertaken.

Until these figures are agreed, it is difficult for them to commit to further works. Although they don’t anticipate any issues, they need to be sure that they can work within their overall budget for the proposed scheme.

They have agreed to progress the legal agreement with the DSO with the view of getting it to council solicitors shortly.

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