Council to develop play park strategy

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Councillors have been updated on the progress of a play park strategy for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

There are a total of 69 formal play parks across the council area, members of the Operational Committee heard.

Each area within the council has identified a ‘destination playpark’, including Carnfunnock in Larne, Marine Gardens in Carrick, and the People’s Park in Ballymena.

The strategy aims to provide members with an agreed direction for future play development across the council area and to inform future capital investment.

A report presented to members on Monday evening read: “A Mid and East Antrim play strategy would set out the strategic vision and direction for play across the new council area. It would also take account of formal play parks, open spaces for free unstructured outdoor play, play opportunities created and accessibility. It should also consider the play offering provided by schools, pre-school playgroups and through Active Communities coaches.”

Following an earlier report to council in May, members were invited to submit their comments on the issue.

Despite identifying good provision overall across the council area, a number of areas were flagged up for attention, including Eden and Burleigh Hill in Carrickfergus.

Eden was noted to have the highest number of 0-15 year olds across the new borough, but has no play park provision.

In Larne, the Beeches, Lindara and Hampton developments and the Mounthill/Raloo area were also highlighted as priorities.

Councillors were appraised of the timetable for developing the strategy, for which mapping and condition reports of existing play parks has already taken place.

The information collected during this process with be reviewed next month, with a consultant due to be appointed in October.

The strategy will be developed this winter and will be due for completion in the spring.