Park supporters plan protest after scooping top award

Craigavon City Park lobbyists are planning a protest outside the local council offices after they won Best Park in NI.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 7th November 2017, 5:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 7:58 am
Craigavon City park
Craigavon City park

After an online campaign, the group entered the park in the Fields of Trust competition as part of their bid to save it from development.

And the group got word this week that the public had voted it the Best Park in NI.

The group Save Craigavon City Park and Lakes had been lobbying to halt development of the new Southern Regional College building at the south Lake site.

South Lake Master Plan

However they were upset that the Council failed to recognise the public support for the park after the prestigious win.

And they plan another protest at 6.30pm on November 27 outside Craigavon Civic Centre to coincide with the next meeting of Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

Group secretary Kelly Laverty said everyone is delighted at the news and urged the authorities to reconsider redeveloping the south Lakes site.

“We now go through to the finals in London on 29th November to compete with winners from England, Scotland and Wales.

Craigavon City Park wins Best Park in NI

“As a group, we are absolutely delighted! This is a prestigious National Title and it shows just how many people feel the same way about Craigavon City Park and Lakes as we do. Surely the Council will now recognise the importance of City Park, not just as a recreational hub, but as a driver to increase the tourism potential of the Borough?

“Questions need to be asked about accountability,” said Kelly, and urged councillors to consider the will of the local residents who support maintaining the City Park.”

Furthermore the group are considering legal action and setting up a ‘Crowd Justice fundraising page’.

“If this madness continues a Judicial Review may be necessary. The way it works is you pledge your donation and when we hit a target set by our solicitors the money is then taken from our donors.

South Lake Master Plan

“It would need full support. We are only 12 in number but we have 5000 signatures 3000 followers on this page,” said the group on its Facebook page.

The group is further concerned of the possibility that the council may be planning to build offices on almost 20 acres at Oxford Island nature reserve however this has been denied by the local council.

A Council spokesperson said: “Last year, Craigavon was named ‘Most Desirable Place to Live’, which is a great testament to council’s efforts in delivering a vibrant and aspirational community for its citizens.

“We welcome this nomination by the Fields in Trust organisation for our park and look forward to a positive result when the winner is announced later this month.

Craigavon City Park wins Best Park in NI

“We’re also very delighted on behalf of our staff, who through hard work and dedication ensure that parks right across the borough are always kept in peak condition and ready to welcome residents and visitors alike at any time of the year.”

However some questions the Council failed to answer included: Will the council be celebrating the win? Will the council be providing any feedback or assistance to the group Save Craigavon City Park and Lakes on the back of winning the title?

Will the council be providing the group with any advice or assistance in travelling to London for the National Awards Ceremony? Will there be official recognition of the award by the council?

Will this influence any future development at the park?