The long-awaited replacement of Harryville’s 40-year-old Community Centre at Brooke Park has taken a step closer to realisation with the approval at Council committee level to move the £1.5m project on to full planning permission.
Members of the Community Planning & Wellbeing Committee agreed an officer recommendation to proceed the proposal to the planning stage when they met last Tuesday night.
Council officers have been working for some time with the Harryville Partnership Initiative with the aim of developing new facilities for the Harryville area with the consensus being that this should be best achieved by the redevelopment of the existing, council-owned site at Brooke Park.
Last week’s committee was told that 16 different site proposals were considered as part of the Economic Appraisal process and that the community had identified the existing location as the preferred site.
The consultation process also reinforced the need for a multi-use facility incorporating both community and sporting interests with the result that the proposed project aims to incorporate - eight changing rooms including shower facilities and referees’ changing accommodation, a main sports hall, meeting room/community space, kitchen, reception area and storage.
The project, councillors were also told, will directly address deprivation and social inclusion with a positive impact in facilitating regeneration of the area.
Speaking after the meeting, Alderman Martin Clarke said: ”This is certainly good news for Harryville.
“The community centre was built in the 70s and nowadays it’s long out of date. The toilets and kitchen are both upstairs which is far from ideal and the changing facilities are really terrible. A new centre is something that is overdue and that I have been campaigning for, for a long, long time. Hopefully, work will be started this financial year.”
Local MLA Paul Frew praised Alderman Clarke and fellow DUP Councillor Beth Adger who, he said, “have fought hard” for a new centre.
“This has been a marathon battle for the people of Harryville and the sports clubs who use the facility. I welcome this good news for Harryville and commend the Council for moving this process on to the next stage,” he said.