Council contacted in village park row

The play park in Hillsborough.
The play park in Hillsborough.

A letter has been sent to the Chief Executive of the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council Teresa Donaldson, from a Hillsborough residents group about rights to access a play park in the village.

James McKirr, Chair of the Hillsborough and Distict Committee, compiled a letter asking why the council granted permission to a developer who asked to gain access to the play park during the construction of apartment blocks. The developers plan to use it to install electric and telephone cables.

Planning permission was granted last year for the apartments which will consist of two residential buildings, comprising of 10 apartments at land to the rear of Lisburn Street.

The planning service received 42 letters of objection but the development was passed in July 2014.

The group had claimed the work will damage trees, disrupt a memorial garden and a community garden.

In the letter Mr McKirr claimed: “Hillsborough and District Committee is a small local volunteer group which supports the community of Hillsborough village and the surrounding district,

“Just over two years ago, through the hard work of the community, fundraising and support from other local Government bodies, LCCC were able to refurbish the park and the play equipment.

“(Developers) facilitated access across their derelict site for construction traffic during the refurbishment.

“In return, LCCC rebuilt a substantial masonry boundary wall, now opened by the developers.

“Furthermore LCCC permitted a private access gate also owned by developers to be created from the development site into the play park.

“(Developers) have now asked LCCC for permission to lay services Water, BT etc through the play park to their site. “This play park route is preferable to (Developers) rather than an available alternative route within their ownership but which would potentially negatively impact on their property income and value.”

Another member of the group Nessa O’Callaghan said she would be wiling to contact the Minister over the decision.

“It is unacceptable that Leisure Services Committee subsequently granted the developer’s request and on November 24 LCCC ratified this decision,” she said

“Hillsborough and District Committee made a submission to the Chief Executive of the Council setting out the various conditions that would have to be met regarding tree preservation etc and asked that any decision be deferred until the Council were fully aware of the consequences. Sadly this has been ignored.”

A spokesperson for LCC said, “The Council has agreed in principle to the developer’s request subject to legal advice.’