‘Council must stomp up cash for entire 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 & Strabane Council should stomp up the cash needed for the entire Strathfoyle play park development and end the ongoing struggle for funding, local Councillor Paul Fleming has said.

The Derry Sinn Féin Councillor said the demand for a play park has been a key issue for the residents of Strathfoyle and for his party for a considerable period of time, and have announced they are to make a formal proposal that the council should now foot the bill.

His call comes in the wake of the recent shock decision to reject Rural Area Partnership In Derry (RAPID)’s funding bid made to the Big Lottery ‘People and Places’ fund.

Colr. Fleming said there was obviously deep disappointment and anger that the application - which was backed by a raft of local community groups- did not secure the park money, estimated at around £500,000.

“As part of Sinn Féin’s involvement in attempting to secure play facilities for Strathfoyle we have been committed to working genuinely and sincerely in coming up with solutions,” he said.

“Following our ongoing discussions with council officers, Sinn Fein will formally propose at the next meeting of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee that the council should provide the entire funding required for the construction of a Play Park for the wider Strathfoyle community.

“We will ensure that the commencement and completion of this project takes place as quickly as possible.”

Earlier this week it emerged that the Departments for the Environment and Regional Development and a private company have all put forward £50,000 towards the creation of the park.

Representatives from Enagh Youth Forum- one of the local community groups involved in the campaign for it- said all the main parties and prominent community activists were now behind them.

The groups which make up the Play Park Consortium are due to meet with the Children’s Commissioner on December 3 to discuss their concerns.