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Tonight a motion before the December meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council asks Councillors to allocate funds to produce the 15 Acre Park they promised back in December 2017 when a motion callling for the park to be built on the Albert Basin site was agreed unanimously.

The site of the proposed Newry City Park at the Albert Basin. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The site of the proposed Newry City Park at the Albert Basin. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

To date just £90k has been allocated to the project. Newry 2020/ The Albert Basin Park Project estimate that £1.5M would need to be allocated by the council for the project, citing that 80-90% of the cost for such schemes usually comes from external funding.

Newry 2020 has been lobbying for a park in Newry since 2013 and Chairman Brian Cleland believes that public pressure will win out in the end.

"We'd like to thank the public for their endless support and help in putting pressure on our elected representatives to deliver this unique project, and we would once again ask them to remind their Councillors that this is the number one priority for the local community."

Mr Cleland added "We have had enough talk, we need to see real action. We need to see evidence of genuine intent and a commitment to invest the resources necessary to get this project moving in 2021."

The Motion before the council tonight from Councillor's Gavin Malone and Patrick Brown reads:

On the third anniversary of its commitment to deliver a 15 acre park on the Albert Basin, this Council recognises that a city park is the number 1 regeneration priority for Newry and will allocate sufficient capital funding in this years rates process to enable the project to be delivered within this Council term.

Act Soon

A brochure produced for the Albert Basin Park in 2016. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
A brochure produced for the Albert Basin Park in 2016. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Speaking about the Motion Newry and Armagh Alliance representative Jackie Coade has added her voice to call on the Council to fully commit themselves to the development of the Park.

Ms Coade said “The development of a 15 acre city centre park in Newry is important now more than ever. Following a successful vaccination programme and getting pass Covid 19 it is important that we aim to rebuild our society as best we can.

"The development of a city centre park at the Albert Basin site in Newry will not only help the local economy but it will be important in regards to mental health. It is well researched that green spaces can help with mental health allowing the public to use the facility for walking, cycling or sitting in the park and relaxing."

Ms Coade added "It is important that if successfully passed the council then commits to this development following motions from councillors in 2017 and 2020 asking this councils firm commitment albeit with no sod cut yet or any developments regarding the issue, it is important that council officials act soon and make 2021 the year we finally see this park get off the ground.”

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