New green space and toddler play area plans unveiled for Head of the Town

Thursday, 24 August 2017

PLANS have been officially unveiled for the creation of a new green space and toddler play area in the Head of the Town area.

Derry City and Strabane District Council has confirmed it is seeking planning permission to develop the area at Innisfree Gardens close to the local community centre.

In recent years the existing play area has fallen into a state of disrepair with Fountain Street Community Development Association (FSCDA), who had been responsible for the park, closing the facility because it was not a safe area for children to be playing in.

The community group had been involved in negotiations over the last year with the local council with a view to the authority taking over the lease and responsibility for the park and the upgrading of it to suit the under five age bracket.

Those discussions, which began back in August last year, resulted in the authority taking ownership of the lands with a view to regenerating the neglected space.

Plans were subsequently drawn up with the backing of the local community and users and subject to funding and planning permission, will see a new state-of-the-art area for youngsters.

Sinn Féin's Karina Carlin has been to the forefront of the campaign for better facilities. Speaking yesterday (Tuesday), she explained: "The fenced play areas to the rear of Fountain Street Community Centre over the years have become derelict and unsafe for children and young people to use for recreation or sport.

"Indeed, the development of the new adventure park and MUGA pitch at Patrician Villas meant that we could look again at the potential alternative uses of the open area at Innisfree in line with the changing needs of our local community.

"Exciting plans were developed by council working in cooperation with Fountain Street Community Development Association, SureStart and myself and recently those plans were offered out to public consultation where they received widespread enthusiastic community support."

She continued: "The proposed project will require planning permission and is subject to funding but I am delighted to say that the planning application is now underway and I am hopeful that the project will be received positively and promptly.

"When completed, the project will help to transform a derelict and dangerous site into an attractive and welcoming functional area, including community green space, and an innovative imaginative play area for preschool children."

Cllr Carlin also asked parents to ensure that children and young people stay out of the derelict sites due to health and safety concerns arising from vandalism and disrepair.


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