Belfast Telegraph

Rushpark to get new play area as council submits application

Newtownabbey borough Council is developing a new play area at Rushpark and a planning application has been submitted for the new facility.

The site of the former Rushpark Community Centre which includes part of the current play area has been sold to Apex Housing Association for social housing.

Completion of the sale took place this week and in the last few days it is understood that Apex Housing Association were handing the site over to their contractor at the end of March.

A council spokesperson said: "At very short notice the council had to remove the play equipment as there were public liability issues in relation to the retention of the play area on the land once ownership of the land passed Apex.

"Unfortunately, due to the speed with which the final negotiations took place, the council was unable to keep residents up-to-date in the way they should have been.

"The council regrets this and plans to keep local residents fully involved and informed about the progress of the new play area."

The council had previously consulted with residents regarding the location for the new play area, however, the preferred site, owned by the Housing Executive, was subsequently not made available for the development.

The play area will now be built on the second preference site, owned by the council.

Newtownabbey Mayor Billy Webb commented: "I appreciate that local residents are annoyed at the way the situation has unfolded.

"It is not ideal that the play area has had to be removed, especially at this time of the year, but the new play area costing -pound;75,000 will be superior to the original play area and it is hoped to have it completed during the summer.

"The Planning Service is going to fast track the planning application for the new play area and we plan to move very quickly, with the tender for the play area being advertised next week.

"We are doing all we can to ensure the new play park is completed as fast as possible and we will be keeping residents informed of progress.

"In the intervening few months, I hope residents can make use of the council's play facilities at Hazelbank Park, approximately 10-15minutes walk from the centre of Rushpark estate."

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