A public consultation process on the planned 15-acre Albert Basin Park for Newry is due to begin in early 2020.
The public consultation will help inform initial concept proposals for the major redevelopment scheme, and once finalised a series of follow-up consultations will also be rolled out.
Over the past 18 months Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has been working to scope out the provision of a 15-acre park at the Albert Basin site in Newry as part of a wider regeneration scheme and strategic project for the Newry area.
The project has now been included in the draft corporate plan 2019-2023 for Council, which identifies Albert Basin park as a principal project, giving further momentum to the scheme.
A Council led Albert Basin Task and Finish Working group has been established to facilitate this project, which includes elected members from the Newry area, Council officers and representatives from the Newry Chamber of Commerce, Drumalane Quayside Community Association and Newry 2020.
Councillors agreed as part of the rates estimates process in 2018/19 to put a budget in place to support the provisional work required to progress this project with initial ground condition and environmental surveys recently completed as a result.
At present the Council are in the process of appointing consultants to carry out a wider public consultation for this project, which will help inform initial concept designs, identify need and support a robust business case and economic appraisal for this project.
Newry councillor and Chairperson of the Albert Basin Task and Finish Working Group, Councillor Liz Kimmins said: “The establishment of a park at the Albert Basin will be a significant asset for the city and residents throughout the Council area.
“The Albert Basin Park Project, along with the Council’s other planned strategic projects, are a great example of continued investment in our local area, which is welcome news given the current economic climate and uncertainty.
“It is important at this time that we ensure all the foundation work required to deliver a project of this size is completed, appropriate consultation is carried out, and a robust business cases developed to attract external funding and investment for the project, minimising the impact on local rate payers.”
councillor Kimmins added: “A top-of-the-range park will bring serious environmental benefits also – the park has rightly been labelled a ‘Green Lung’ for Newry.
“Traffic congestion and poor infrastructure has resulted in Newry having poor air quality. The park and the Southern Relief Road combined can help address this.
“The park will be a genuine community resource for our people. The environmental, cultural, educational and recreational benefits of city centre parks are undisputed – it’s time this was delivered. The people of Newry deserve a city centre park – have your say.”