Saturday 22 July 2017 11:48:45 AM

Closing Of Play Parks At Easter Weekend Causes Furore
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WHEN parents and children turned up to council playparks during Easter weekend across Down District they were met with locked gates.

Immediately anger rose that children were locked out of new state-of-the-art playparks and local councillors were soon receiving calls from irate constituents and parents complaining. The sun was shining and it was perfect weather for a day at the playpark.

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Play-Parks Must Be Open When People Want Them Most Says McGrath

SDLP Downpatrick Councillor Colin McGrath said that the district’s play parks that are locked and secured each day should be open when people want to use them most.

Officially opened several months ago, the Ballymote playpark is one of several in Down District that faced closure at the Easter weekend because of Council arrangements but these are now being examined.

Officially opened several months ago, the Ballymote playpark is one of several in Down District that faced closure at the Easter weekend because of Council arrangements but these are now being examined.

Officially opened several months ago, the Ballymote playpark is one of several in Down District that faced closure at the Easter weekend because of Council arrangements but these are now being examined.

Commenting, the Downpatrick Cllr added: ‘These parks are opened and closed by staff who work in the district’s leisure centres and as such the opening hours of the parks coincides with the opening hours of centres.

“However, this can cause problems on Sundays and at holiday times when centres open reduced hours and as such the parks open for reduced hours.

“An example would be the Ballymote play park in Downpatrick which would be scheduled to be closed from Holy Thursday until Easter Tuesday in line with that centres opening hours.

“To reduce this park’s opening hours to this level is ridiculous – these are the very times that children will want to use them most.

“I proposed that a solution be found to the Ballymote problem immediately and an investigation into the whole problem of play park opening hours be carried out and a solution sought.

“Council cannot be spending ratepayers money on superb play facilities only to lock them up when they are needed most.”

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Hughes Critical If Council For Locking Up Play Facilities Over Easter Weekend

Sinn Féin local election candidate Eddie Hughes has criticised Down Council following their decision to close play facilities in Ballynahinch over the Easter weekend.

The Ballynahinch man said: “People in the local area are really annoyed and left frustrated at this decision. It’s bad enough that local people have to put-up with the outdated play facilities day and daily but to lock them up on one of the busiest weekends of the year is pure madness.

“This decision is symptomatic of a Council who have no idea how to provide adequate recreation facilities for the people of Ballynahinch. I make no apologies for demanding fit-for-purpose play facilities for our young people and local families. It is simply not acceptable to expect our kids to play on the street in 2014.”