Park improvement plans welcome

In praise of a play park strategy -  Paul Frew MLA. (Submitted Picture).
In praise of a play park strategy - Paul Frew MLA. (Submitted Picture).

NEWS

Local MLA Paul Frew has praised plans by Mid & East Antrim Council to upgrade play parks across the borough.

The DUP Assemblyman said this week he was particularly delighted that Riverdale had been prioritised for new facilities closer to Tullygarley Community Centre, pointing out that he and local Cllr John Carson “have been pushing the case for a new park” in the area in response to parents’ appeals.

Councillors agreed back in May to develop a Play Strategy “which would take account of existing play facilities, inform future development and animate play areas to create more dynamic play opportunities”.

Mr Frew stated: “We have a large number of parks but most are of a very basic state and some are even vandalised.

“Play parks are vital to the development of our young people and help parents to get their children out of the house and into structured play. Playparks are free to use and everyone can avail of them. You don’t have to make a team or a squad to take part.

“We have a great facility at the People’s Park but not every parent can travel there and use it. It’s important that council select a number of playparks in the area strategically to enable the vast majority of people to be close to a playpark that is upgraded to make them more adventurous and stimulating for young people.

“I have recently met with DUP Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Billy Ashe to discuss this very issue and I’m delighted to say we have made progress with a number of playparks earmarked for upgrades.

“I hope for further progress on a number of other sites I am pushing for. This will be made clear in the coming weeks,” Mr Frew added.

Of the 62 formal play parks across Mid & East Antrim, 37 are in Ballymena, five in Carrick and 20 in Larne.

At the Council meeting back in May, Council CEO Anne Donaghy told members that a new borough-wide Play Strategy would provide them with “a clear agreed direction for future play development” .