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South Down MP Chris Hazzard has said the wider Rostrevor community overwhelmingly support the proposed development of sports facilities within Kilbroney parkland. 

 The South Down MP, who participated in a pre-application online community consultation on Thursday night, said the delivery of safe and modern facilities was a priority for the local community. 

Mr Hazzard said “There are approximately 100 GAA and soccer clubs across the Newry, Mourne and Down Council area, with some 700 teams competing on a regular basis. Yet in some areas across the district current facilities are simply nowhere near good enough; the existing facilities at Kilbroney certainly fall into this category. 

“So this proposal for 2 new pitches and a changing pavilion is long overdue and will be a huge factor in allowing young children to participate safely in their local community; something which has not been possible previously at Kilbroney. 

"As you would expect from developing such facilities within sprawling parkland, a number of environmental and wildlife issues have already been identified by the Council, and will need to be dealt with appropriately through the planning process. These include the displacement of hedging and shrubbery, and the potential loss of pollinator flora. 

"Thankfully however, it does appear that the leisure needs of the local community, in tandem with the need to protect our natural environment, can be met through a variety of strict planning conditions and mitigating initiatives.

“I want to pay tribute to those within both sporting codes who joined together through the Kilbroney Sports Forum in order to drive this project forward. It's not an easy task to meet the specific needs of different sporting codes in the one development, so they deserve huge credit.”

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