Public’s views sought for Dunfane project

editorial image

Residents and sports clubs are being invited to have their say on plans to breathe new life into community sports, leisure and play facilities in Ballymena.

Residents and sports clubs are being invited to have their say on plans to breathe new life into community sports, leisure and play facilities in Ballymena.

More than £300,000 of investment has been earmarked for the Dunfane area, including the installation of a new 3G football pitch for use by local school pupils and the wider community.

The cash injection would also provide for the erection of floodlighting of the surface in the school grounds.

Plans for additional houses in the Dunfane area could also create the opportunity for better pathways, a kickabout zone, play park area and improved open space for residents.

Money generated from property sales through the Dunfane Playing Fields Masterplan could also be reinvested in further improving facilities within the local school and Dunfane area.

Local citizens have been encouraged to take part in an eight-week consultation on the proposed redevelopment of Dunfane Playing Fields. A public drop-in information session will take place at Ballymena North Business and Recreation Centre on December 4 between 4pm and 8pm.

A council spokesman said: “These are hugely ambitious plans for Dunfane and the local community, and it is vital residents help us to shape the future of their area.

“Around £300,000 was previously set aside to redevelop unused land and the sporting pavilion in the area. There are currently two grass pitches in the area and the facilities are underused.

“We are currently looking at the possibility of working alongside St Patricks College to provide a 3G surface on the school site. These surfaces can be used all year round and require minimal upkeep in comparison with grass pitches. Indeed, one 3G surface is said to be as beneficial to local people, clubs and community groups, as six grass pitches.

“We believe that by working in partnership with the school, we can create a situation whereby council and the local community can achieve a much more cost-effective solution and better use of our collective public assets.

“School pupils would benefit from having modern sporting facilities and the floodlit facilities would be available for use by the wider community, with existing changing facilities at the school negating the need for the redevelopment of the pavilion in Dunfane.

“The health and wellbeing of our citizens is a key priority for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, as outlined in our Community Plan, and sport and outdoor activity are vital to that. This also supports our community planning aims by helping to build stronger communities in our borough.

“The draft plans propose that the existing pitches within the Dunfane development could remain open for community use, with additional children’s play area and a rubber surface installed to provide a kickabout area. We believe this is a fantastic opportunity for the area and its residents and a much more prudent use of public money through the collaboration of the school and council to the advantage of all.”

To take part in the consultation or to find out more, please visit www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/council/policies-and-documents/consultations/dunfane-development-masterplan/

The process will close at 5pm on Friday, January 18.