Belfast Telegraph

Chains to come off vandal-hit play park

by Natalie Irvine

Plans are “finally underfoot” to re-open a children’s play park in a north Belfast estate after play equipment was damaged by vandals at the beginning of this year’s summer school holidays.

Last Monday, Liam Wiggins, chairman of the New lodge Housing Forum, told the Community Telegraph that Carlisle Play Park had been damaged aproximately six weeks beforehand by the vandals.

“Obviously and quite understandably, due to health and safety reasons, the park was shut by Belfast City Park department,” Mr Wiggins said.

“However, the park has been closed for the duration of the summer holidays — Belfast City Council has been dragging its feet to get the park up and running again.

“When we first raised the issue with the council we were told that there was no money available as yet to get this park opened. But this was one of the most popular play parks in Belfast.

“It is not acceptable that the children have had no park to play in for the whole of the summer —this is a deprived area, the way this estate is built with narrow corridors means there is nowhere else for the children to play.

“We needed to get the park re-opened before the summer holiday’s finish —I don’t see this happening though.”

Oldpark councillor Conor Maskey said: “It’s not good enough that the park should be closed at this time of year. Community representatives were told at first that nothing could be done about getting the park up and running again.

“But because of political lobbying within the Parks committee, funding has been secured to re-instate the play equipment.

“I was told last week by the Parks manager that £5,500 has been committed to buy new equipment for the park. Some of the money will also be used to extend the fencing to deter vandals. Park officers will be working on getting this park operational as soon as possible.”

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