Newry.ie

The provision of a 15 Acre Park for the people of Newry at the Albert Basin has moved another step forward with Councillors agreeing on terms of reference for forming a Task and Finish Group at the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council's, Strategic Policy & Resources Committee meeting on Thursday past.

The agreement which is subject to ratification at the monthly full council meeting in May should see the Task and Finish Group establish plans to move the Albert Basin park project forward as well as investigating funding options.

The move follows a council meeting in December where councillors unanimously voted to support a motion to produce a 15 acre park at the Albert Basin site, following years of campaigning by Newry 2020 and other local organisations.

The motion stated that a task and finish group was to be set up within three months although over five months will have passed by the time the SPR committee proposals are ratified at the councils May meeting.

An artists impression of how the new park at the Albert Basin could look.
An artists impression of how the new park at the Albert Basin could look.

Huge Appetitie for this Project

Newry 2020 chairperson Brian Cleland has welcomed the news, saying "We are delighted that a consensus was reached at the committee this week, and we are grateful for the support of all parties in moving this project forward.

"Given we are now well outside the three month deadline that was originally agreed, it is essential that the Task and Finish group meets before the end of May, following ratification at the next full council meeting.

"The overwhelming response to our recent video - over 40k views on Facebook alone - shows that there is a huge appetite for this project among Newry people. It is incumbent on everyone involved to ensure that this park is delivered without further delay."

Commenting to a question from Newry.ie re the make up of the group a spokesperson for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council stated "Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is not in position to comment on the Albert Basin Task and Finish Group members until after the proposals considered by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee have been ratified by full Council."

It's thought that the group will consist of councillors as well as Newry 2020 and community and business representatives.

Councillors Welcome the Proposals

Speaking after the agreement Cllr Gary Stokes said "I welcome the fact that the make up of the group had been agreed and look forward to our first meeting. It is essential now we drive on and deliver the project. A huge expectation has been created among Newry citizens particularly our young people. We have an obligation to deliver on that expectation."

Cllr Michael Savage added "This is a very important first step on the road to delivering a landmark facility for our city. I look forward to working with everyone in the group in delivering a world class park that the people of Newry now expect and deserve."

Also commenting on the agreed proposals Cllr Liz Kimmins stated "Sinn Féin viewed the delivery of a City Park as a key issue for us and our communities in the Councils futures plan.

We have always argued for this hugely significant project to be processed through the appropriate Council procedures to ensure the best possible outcome.

We look forward to working with all interested parties and stakeholders to ensure that the vision of many for a fully resourced easy accessible natural Park area at the Albert Basin will be realised."

You can see a video of the parks potential at www.newry.ie/video

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