Council stands over local facilities expenditure

The entrance and outdoor piazza envisaged for the planned new �30m leisure centre in Craigavon.
The entrance and outdoor piazza envisaged for the planned new �30m leisure centre in Craigavon.

The local council is standing over a £5m-plus leisure spend in Banbridge district as it progresses plans for a £30m Craigavon leisure centre “for everyone in the borough”.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council figures show a total of £5,396,759 spent on sports and leisure facilities across the former Banbridge District in recent years, a demonstration, it said, of its commitment to ensuring existing facilities were upgraded and maintained to a high standard.

A total of £1,160,000 went onBanbridge Leisure Centre refurbishment and repairs while £180,000 was spent on Cheney Park, £30,000 on Havelock Park and £300,000 on children’s provision at Solitude Park; £2,300,000 went on the Community Centre in Gilford, where further expenditure, taking in canoeing, riverside trail and children’s playpark provision, amounted to £551,934.

Some £50,000 was spent on Dromore’s Ferris Park and, according to the council, heavy investment is planned in the future refurbishment of the town’s Community Centre.

In Rathfriland, £500,000 went on a new 3G pitch, in Leitrim and Laurencetown, £142,548 and £139,682 respectively on children’s playpark provision, in Castlewellan, £13,982 on the forest park and in Loughbrickland, £28,613 on the historic trail.

Meanwhile, the council is seeking public views, including those of residents in the wider Banbridge area, after approving plans for a new, “purpose-built, ultra-modern” leisure centre at Craigavon Lakes, due for completion by 2019 and a facility, the local authority says, for everyone in the borough.

Proposed features include an eight-lane pool, inflatable play equipment and teaching area, watersports centre, outdoor watersports adventure, sports hall, gym, health suite with treatment rooms, spin studio, dance studio, activity rooms, squash courts, hub space and a café and crèche/soft play area.

A spokesperson said: “To ensure the new facility is built to the highest specification, well designed and most importantly, fully utilised by people in all parts of the borough for a variety of recreational activities, it’s essential that all stakeholders, including sports groups, community associations, schools and the wider public have an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft designs .

“To enable this information to be gathered, the council has developed a new digital engagement platform which shows videos and visuals of the designs and asks a series of questions about the various features.

“If you would like your views to be considered, visit www.facebook.com/banbridgeleader on Wednesday 6 July when the consultation period is open for your views and comments.

“Alternatively, log onto www.shapeabc.community to register your details and submit your views. The consultation period ends on Wednesday 3 August.”