Coogan Concerned At Slow Development Of Lough Park Project
BALLYNAHINCH area councillor MIckey Coogan speaking at Monday’s meeting of the Recreation Committee has welcomed the Council decision to support a number of applications from local community groups including Killyleagh YC.
However, during later discussions on the Council’s Capital Spend programme, Councillor Coogan said: “I have serious concerns about progress or the lack of progress made on the Lough Park scheme in Ballynahinch. We have just supported a number of local schemes in recognition of the fact that local community groups have secured funding yet there is a concern that Council are holding up progress on the Lough Park scheme, a scheme where the local community have secured over half a million pounds in funding.
“The Ballynahinch Olympic and Hillcrest Drive Community Partnership working with GroundworkNI brought their proposals for funding to complete the first phase of their project to the Councils Policy and Resources committee in January this year. They presented a business case with the groups preferred option for location and cost to Council but were asked to relocate the scheme in order to accommodate potential future plans of the Council. The group agreed and Council agreed to fund the scheme up to a maximum of £400,000.
“Since then, the group have been asked to provide additional information all of which has been provided. The main concern of the public, and I share those concerns, is that Council are dragging their heels on this scheme and that there is a lack of communication between senior Council staff both internally and certainly with the community.
“At a recent meeting between the group and senior Council officers, I asked what were the outstanding issues and a number of actions were agreed. A senior officer was rude and in my opinion behaved in appropriately during the discussions and the community representatives were left feeling that Council officers have no desire to deliver the scheme and in fact are doing all they can to obstruct it.
“It is for this reason that I have asked the Chairperson of the Recreation Committee to raise this as an urgent late item on the Council agenda as I believe Council need to send a clear message to the Community in Ballynahinch that they will uphold their end of the bargain. Anything short of a full assurance would be unacceptable,” added Councillor Coogan.