Windsor Play Park
Whitehead residents are seeking a meeting with elected representatives over a proposal to close two play parks in the seaside town.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council says that both Ransevyn Park and Windsor Park in Whitehead are “reaching end of life status”. It is anticipated both will become grass areas.
In an open letter on social media, Robert McClenaghan said:
“We, the residents and users of Ransevyn Play Park, would be grateful if you, our elected representatives, would facilitate a cross-party meeting before the end of the consultation period to discuss the proposed closure of Ransevyn Play Park.
“We feel the proposed closure is both unjust and unacceptable given that the park services the local community in that area. Make no mistake, the feeling in the area is one of outrage and we would like you to join us in trying to preserve the park so that many more generations of children can enjoy the park and its benefits.”
A statement issued by Windsor Residents’ Association says:
“Windsor Play Park was opened in 2002 and has been a social hub ever since. The late Helen Sloan campaigned for it to reclaim wild lands which was a focus of anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.
“We have diligently reported any maintenance issues which have solely consisted of mossy surfaces. We believe it would take very little money to freshen it up. Our parks are more than swings and are particularly valued by children with additional needs.”
In Larne, the mother of eight-year-old Scarlett Rossborough who died in a tragic road traffic accident in August has appealed to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to keep a play park earmarked for closure in her home town open.
Carolanne Rodgers is urging the council to reconsider a proposal to shut the playground at Bardic Drive in the town’s Antiville estate.
A number of play parks across Mid and East Antrim are under threat of closure due to maintenance costs.
At a meeting of the council’s Neighbourhoods and Communities Committee, in October, Coast Road DUP Councillor Angela Smyth asked if minor work and a clean-up would be appropriate at Ransevyn Park.
Lindsay Houston, the council’s parks and open space development manager, said at the time:
“They will all need substantial investment to try to bring them up to standard to ensure they are suitable for everybody.”
She indicated the consultation process which is taking place will be held to discuss plans with local people.
Larne Lough Alliance Cllr Maeve Donnelly said more accessible play equipment is needed in Whitehead.
An independent annual inspection of play parks in March highlighted a number of sites around the borough with “significant issues of concern with regard to health and safety”, a report to councillors stated.
Councillors have been warned failure to act could result in “enforced closure in due course due to health and safety concerns”. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council maintains and manages 67 play parks and has spent £3.3m on refurbishments since 2019.
The council has said previously:
“The transformation of play parks listed will provide significant financial savings. The play parks identified have ongoing issues for a variety of reasons which result in significant investment each year to ensure safety for users.”
It was also stated “transformation of play parks is only considered when a play park has reached the end of its life and is no longer fit for purpose or safe to use”.
The council says the proposal will be reviewed on completion of the consultation to be followed “if successful” by “closure and removal of equipment to ensure site safety”.