‘Another summer lost for the children of Martinstown’ - McGuigan
The rural community of Martinstown is said to be frustrated and angered by the closure of a local play park since early last year.
It is understood the decision was taken to close the facility by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council after sewage contamination.
In relation to the closure of the park last summer, Council previously said in August 2020:
“The play area remains closed due to an underlying drainage issue and we are working closely with our colleagues in NI Water in order to identify the source of the problem.
“It is vital this is dealt with prior to any works being carried out to ensure the facility is opened without any future spend of ratepayers’ money or any further closures being required at a later date to remedy this.
“We are also endeavouring to secure additional funding at this time to improve the current play equipment provision.”
However to date, the park remains closed and no action to remedy the problem has been taken.
Speaking about the continued closure of Martinstown playpark Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan said:
“I first contacted Mid and East Antrim council in March 2020 about the playpark closure in Martinstown, and 19 months later the council’s neglect of the ratepayers continues. “During that time Martinstown residents have witnessed other play-parks within the council area upgraded and developed and saw their rates wasted on other council vanity projects and are quite rightly very angry. “They are demanding that Mid And East Antrim council treat them with respect and deliver a modern play facility for their children without delay.”
In response, Council told Love Ballymena today (Thursday 5 August) that the Martinstown park was not identified as a priority during the agreeing of a Play Investment Strategy in 2020.
A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council told commented:
“In May 2020, Council agreed a Play Investment Strategy for the Borough.
“This followed many months of workshops with Elected Members, including DEA-specific workshops through which Elected Members decided on the priority play areas for investment within their area.
“Martinstown was not identified as a priority at that time.
“We recognise the frustration and disappointment of residents in the area, and we continue to explore a range of possibilities, including external funding streams, to resolve this matter.”