Speaking to Causeway Coast Community last night, Councillior Padraig McShane told us that Council plan to bulldoze Dundarave football pitch and the newly constructed changing facilities in the centre of the village of Bushmills. He has described it as a “a blatant attack on the working class community of Woodvale and Dundarave”.
The pitch and changing facilities were developed, only five years ago, by the legacy Moyle District Council with an estimated three quarters of a million pounds investment. Plans to waste that investment, meant to support working class communities have been savaged by one former Moyle Councillor.
The comments, from the most unlikely of sources, emanated from Independent Glens Councillor Padraig McShane.
He spoke out after a Tourism Parking study commissioned by Council indicated that Dundarave football pitch should be used as an overspill for the Giants Causeway World Heritage Site and a signed petition from residents was ignored by senior executives.
The Councillor stated;
“I attended a familiarisation trip to several sites in the village with a number of Councillors. Before studies into the most suitable sites have been completed, a Council Executive was advising that only Dundarave football pitch will seriously be considered for new parking.
“I posed several questions highlighting the Covenants and planning restrictions that existed on the lands. In addition I asked about the need for ‘green spaces’ and leisure facilities adjacent to residents but the questions were dismissed. The health benefits of green space adjacent to working class residential communities are proven to enhancing life chances.
“In addition I asked if there was a petition signed by up to 600 residents in the village campaigning to retain the football pitch and the newly constructed changing facilities. Senior Executives did indicate there was a petition but unbelievable, they dismissed its relevance.
“There is clear evidence that private Business interests in the village have influence at Executive level in Council and are riding roughshod over the interests of working class communities. The document presented to Council and giving a scoring matrix on sites did not at any stage consider the impact on the community. I raise these points not only for Bushmills, but numerous projects that seem on the surface to be legitimate but, on closer inspection, have preordained outcomes.
“The idea that we remove these facilities from the heart of the community and provide them on an edge of or out of settlement location beggars belief!”
In a statement to Causeway Coast Community this morning a council spokesperson said “Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is currently considering all the options which will alleviate parking problems in Bushmills.
Council is examining the potential of a number of parking sites that would serve to accommodate the growing numbers of independent visitors to the Causeway and other local sites, and also maximise the economic and social benefit to the village.”
Anyone requiring further information is asked to contact Councillor McShane on 07828112129