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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

MEA play park to be saved from Council cuts in memory of Scarlett

County Antrim schoolgirl Scarlett Rossborough who sadly died in a tragic road accident last August.

County Antrim schoolgirl Scarlett Rossborough who sadly died in a tragic road accident last August.

A play park under threat of closure in Larne’s Antiville estate has been saved following a campaign by the mother of eight-year-old schoolgirl Scarlett Rossborough who died in a tragic road accident last August.

Carolanne Rodgers appealed to the community for support to restore the  playground at Bardic Drive  and named Scarlett’s Park in her memory.

Scarlett, who was a pupil of Linn Primary School, in Larne, died in a  single-vehicle traffic collision in Carrickfergus town centre, on August 9th, which left both towns numb with grief.

The playground is one of a number in Mid and East Antrim which has been earmarked for closure by the council due to maintenance costs. An independent annual inspection of play parks last March highlighted a number of sites around the borough with “significant issues of concern with regard to health and safety”.

However, after a public consultation by the council in December, retention of the playground was approved at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Neighbourhoods and Communities Committee on Tuesday evening (27th February).

Lindsay Houston, the council’s parks and open space development manager, said local feedback will result in the site being refurbished in the financial year 2024/25.

A petition to save the playground was signed by 2,153 people and a further 143 contacted the council in opposition to the proposal.

Coast Road DUP Councillor Andrew Clarke, who started the petition to save the park, said:

“I am thrilled that council has agreed to Scarlett’s Park. Everyone should acknowledge the bravery of Scarlett’s mother, Carolanne, as we worked on this.

“I am hoping the tribute will be of some comfort to the grieving family circle. The community has been terrific in their support with large backing for the consultation period and an unprecedented response to the consultation.

“It is vital that we have the proper facilities for the next generation in our communities, I will continue to press for investment in play park facilities throughout the area I represent.”

Speaking at the meeting, Knockagh DUP Councillor Marc Collins described the retention of the park at Bardic Drive as “a nice, fitting tribute for Scarlett”.

The meeting was also told two play parks in Whitehead, in Windsor and Ransevyn estates and another in Magheramorne will be kept under review.

Meanwhile, Larne Lough Alliance Cllr Maeve Donnelly asked for the opening hours to be extended at the playground at the Gobbins visitor centre in Islandmagee. She noted when the centre closes for the evening, the park is also closed which she described as “a frustration in the area”.

She also reported “unsavoury” items, including needles, have been discovered in the playground in the Tullygarley area of Larne recently.


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