£200,000 remedial works plan for Derry’s Ballyarnett Country Park

Derry & Strabane Councillors have been informed of proposals for a £200,000 programme of remedial works at Ballyarnett Country Park, if capital funding is made available.

A report was brought before the Environment and Regeneration Committee updating Members on works required at the park following a recent inspection of the facility.

The report showed that £10,000 has been allocated to work already actioned including the repair of potholes at multiple locations (£2k); the repair and replacement of honeycomb paving to car park (£5k) and the repairs to the wall at Cornshell Fields (£3k).

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Further works have also been considered as appropriate, however, these are dependent on capital funding becoming available. The works include the resurfacing of footpaths from the play area to Cornshell Fields (£60k), replacing the honeycomb surfacing and improving the drainage at the car park (£100k) and replacing the steps to current standards (£40k).

Ballyarnett Road. DER2126GS - 084

Although welcoming the initial £10,000 that’s being spent in the short term, SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney referred to the £200k of works anticipated to be carried out saying it was ‘quite a lot of money’. “I’ve spoken on this a number of times and the officers will be aware there is currently a masterplan. What does the £200k do in relation to the masterplan? When the masterplan is rolled out that could be a waste of that £200k, what way is it going to work?”

Responding, Head of Environment Conor Canning said: “The £200k is to deal with the issues identified around the paths, the steps and so on. Once we have more information on where the masterplan is, we will bring a report back to say it’s going to happen or it’s not going to happen and look at the impact of it there. What we have done is put that £200k into the capital review group as an ask at this stage, but we will have to come back to it and say we are willing to proceed at this time or do we leave it until the master plan is approved and taken forward.”

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Asking when the masterplan could proceed, Colr. Tierney added: “I would just worry that we will get word from the capital review that this £200k is granted and then two years down the line the masterplan gets rolled out, I would just worry that would be a waste of that £200k.”

Mr Canning responded: “These works are deemed as essential and they will form part of the masterplan as it is progressed. The works would not be negatory in the sense that the works are required no matter what.”

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Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy welcomed the fact the work is being progressed. “I have been in touch with officers many times with regards to anti-social behaviour, fires, vandalism which has resulted in it becoming less than what it should be,” she said. We do have the master plan as Councillor Tierney has outlined but in terms of the initial works I am glad to see that some of it is being progressed. In terms of the £200k, there is work that needs to be done particularly around the steps. That is essential maintenance and I would agree with that.

“I do want to see the masterplan implemented and there are huge ambitions for the park and I know one of the things was about trunking in electricity around the play park to ensure we could get lighting and accessible toilets so I do hope to see those issues coming before the capital working group as well. 

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“I welcome the report and the fact there is progress, it is a beautiful country park and we need to be making the most of it and essential work needs to be carried out.”

Gillian Anderson

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Local Democracy Reporter