Council pledge funds for Strathfoyle play park

Local people gathered outside the Guildhall to protest over the need for a play park in Strathfoyle.
Local people gathered outside the Guildhall to protest over the need for a play park in Strathfoyle.

Derry and Strabane Council has agreed to fund the lion’s share of the money needed to make Strathfoyle play park a reality.

Local community workers from Strathfoyle clapped from the public gallery as members of the council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee opted by majority to provide the funding for the long campaigned for facility at the Guildhall on Tuesday.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP along with Independent Committee members backed the first of two options presented in a report compiled by council officers, while Unionist party representatives opted for a second proposal.

The first option was that the Council “provide the necessary funding to deliver the project in full and progresses the project to tender with immediate effect”, whilst also seeking confirmation of the additional £150,000 pledged by DoE Minister Mark H Durkan and two other funders.

The council is expected to fund the remaining £350,000 needed to bring the park to fruition.

SDLP Councillor for the area, Gus Hastings, said this was “a very good day for the area”.

“We have been fighting for this for long time,” he added.

DUP Councillor Drew Thompspn warned however that by taking on such a huge share of the cost council could be opening the floodgates to other deprived areas and he questioned whether the £150,000 pledged from outside sources could be spent by March 2016, which was a conditon attached to the offer.

His suggestion that the council confirm £172,938 match funding towards the cost and apply for further funding however was defeated.