Plans for a new entrance to St Columb’s Park have been backed despite Councillors expressing concerns that only one section of the access route will be revamped as part of the plans.
New gates, stone piers, stone walls and railings are to be constructed at the upper car park entrance to the park opposite Ebrington, along with resurfacing of the laneway out to St Columb’s Park House.
The Council itself had applied for permission for the project along St Columb’s Park Road. A planning officer said the proposal would be a “welcomed development for the local community who use St Columb’s Park and the local residents of Browning Drive”.
“Since the completion of the Peace Bridge in 2012, there has been a noticeable increase in car parking along St Columb’s Park Road and within the environs of St Columb’s Park. There was also a growing concern that the ongoing parking arrangements along this road are not safe, regulated nor in the wider public interest,” he said.
The officer said that the existing stone boundary wall will be demolished as part of the plans, while the replacement path to St Columb’s Park House will be fitted with rubber traffic speed humps.
SDLP Councillor Tina Gardiner said she was happy to propose the development, and said that at the present entrance “you could just walk past it and not realise you are going into 30 acres of parkland”.
She added: “I think there will be issues if that entrance at Browning Drive is to be left as it is. It seems to me we are enhancing the part up from what the public will initially see.”
Head of Planning Maura Fox said she imagined this application was the first part of a wider scheme, and pledged to find out more about potential future plans for the park entrance closest to Browning Drive.