Camping at Carnfunnock will see no tents allowed due to ground conditions
Camping at Carnfunnock Country Park outside Larne will be restricted mainly to caravans during the holiday season as the borough council considers bringing in an external partner to manage the campsite and recreation facilities as part of a “masterplan” being drawn up for the visitor attraction.
Mid and East Antrim councillors have been told that no tents had been permitted last summer to enable social distancing at the amenity block.
The tent site, which is separate from the main camping facilities, across an internal road, is to remain closed due to concerns over ground conditions.
Councillors have been told that between 2017 and 2019, wet ground on the tent site, which can accommodate ten canvases, led to “last minute” cancellations due to flooding.
A report presented to councillors at a recent Direct Services Committee meeting said:
“Due to the nature of the site, significant investment would be required to create a flat, drained surface suitable for tents”.
A warden presence has been requested previously due to “significant reports of noise” in the tent area during “busy periods”.
In 2018/19, the tent campsite brought in a revenue of £12,000 and £8,800 during 2019/20 for the local authority.
By comparison, caravanners brought in £82,894, during 2018/19; £65,578, 2019/20; £50,662, in 2020/21 and £75,541 during this financial year.
Coast Road Alliance councillor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna asked about the implications of not reopening the tent section.
Deputy Mayor Cllr Matthew Armstrong said:
“I am a huge fan of Carnfunnock. It has potential to be an absolutely amazing facility. I look forward very much to seeing that it terms of a holiday destination. I think we should be doing all we can to develop it.”
However. he went on to say that if there is potential for the ground not to be “sound” or for complaints, he did not think the return of the tent site in the meantime would be “prudent” and expressed support for the officer’s recommendation to not take bookings for this site but to make use of two pitches in the main caravan park instead.
Ald Mulvenna said she was happy to second this recommendation.
Coast Road Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown commented that the new lighting at Carnfunnock is “a big improvement”.