Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s Operations Committee was informed a funding application has been successful. It heard the Department had expressed a particular interest in applications for sensory gardens and accessible equipment for play parks, plus projects that would “positively impact sustainability and address climate change”.
In 2020/21, the council secured £120,000 funding from the programme which enabled the development of a £30k sensory garden at Hazelbank Park in Newtownabbey as well as accessibility trails at Valley Park and Threemilewater Park in Newtownabbey.
Last year, the sum of £27k assisted the creation of a sensory garden at Antrim Castle Gardens which was officially opened in September 2022 to provide a “therapeutic and calming outdoor sanctuary” for children and adults with autism, dementia and other sensory needs.
Councillors were also advised at the meeting an audit of the borough’s 35 play parks is to be carried out. They were told this would involve each piece of equipment and fencing.
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The play parks were last surveyed in 2016 and ranked in terms of condition and value of works required to improve facilities. Since then, the council has opened a new play-park at Antrim Loughshore, with a further new development scheduled for completion at Belfast City Playing Fields, Mallusk, in spring 2024.
Macedon Ulster Unionist Councillor Robert Foster asked to be informed of any developers’ contributions that have been put in place in the borough.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter