Access to Derry park ‘a death trap’

A Derry Councillor has warned that the access route to a public park in the city is a “death trap”.

SDLP Councillor Angela Dobbins raised safety concerns over the entrance at Ballyarnett Country Park during discussions on improving pedestrian accessibility at Ballyarnett Racecourse.

Councillors on the Environment & Regeneration Committee have now approved the reallocation of £25,000 from Parks Maintenance for the upkeep of Ballyarnett Racecourse to improve pedestrian access. 

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“Whilst it is a beautiful park and well used, there is a major issue on the road leading into Ballyarnett Park,” Colr. Dobbins said.  “It’s a death trap to pedestrians that use that road to get access to the park. I know there have been a lot of attempts to have DfI Roads have a look at this and I know other councillors along with myself have had them down to look at this and they did lower the speed of that section but I think we should be going further.

Ballyarnett Road. DER2126GS - 084

“I would like to propose that we as a committee should be asking DfI Roads to have a look at that road again with a view to pedestrian safety. Maybe a crossing or something that would keep the residents and users safe because that road is treacherous.”

Council officers will now ‘write to DfI in relation to this issue on behalf of the committee’.

Earlier Council’s Environment and Regeneration Director informed the committee that the Racecourse was upgraded a number of years ago, however, over the passage of time the grass verges have encroached, reducing the overall width of the existing pathway. She said: “Following requests by elected members and the public there is a desire to reinstate the path back to its original width, circa. 2 metres. Works will involve scraping and the quarry dusting of the path’s surface.”

A contractor will commence at the earliest opportunity following approval.

SDLP Councillor Angela Dobbins

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said: “This is a really popular path and over Covid it became very popular and it became quite run down. It was, at times, difficult and impassable with puddles and muck but it still is an enjoyable path to walk on. I know residents in the area will be grateful that muddy paws won’t be such an issue coming back from a walk.”

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SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney added: “I often think when you look at the size of it, it’s hard to describe it as a hidden gem but that’s exactly what it is. 

“I am delighted to see this work is being done because it shows the commitment this council has to addressing the issues which have been raised by residents for quite some time,” he added.

“It’s important council stamps our ownership and commitment to Ballyarnett Country Park.”

By Gillian Anderson

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Local Democracy Reporter

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