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State-of-the-art play park plans granted for tiny Co Armagh village

Plans for new play park at The Birches

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s planning committee has approved an application seeking permission to bring a new play area to the Birches.

Lodged by the Council the application seeks permission to bring a play area with play equipment and 1.2m high fencing to lands 20m north east of 21 Robinsonstown, Portadown.

A report produced by Council’s planning officers notes their view the proposal complies with all relevant planning policy and states no objections have been received from either statutory or non-statutory consultees or third parties.

According to the report the application site is comprised of an area of public open space approximately 20 metres north east of 21 Robinsonstown and is part of a larger area of public open space, comprised of an area of grass sited fronting the Clonmakate Road.

There is a post and wire fence along the southern boundary of the open space and along the Clonmakate Road there is a post and wire fence and newly planted hedge to the rear.

Beyond the site to the north and west are residential developments with a shop and school in close proximity.

According to the plans the overall play area measures 80sqm set on resin bound rubber mulch surfacing. There are nine pieces of playground equipment with two pieces of furniture (bench and bin) proposed for the development.

The list of items proposed for the play park is as follows: an inclusive pod swing for ages two plus; a swing set with one cradle seat and one zero-G inclusive seat with lockable harness for ages two plus; swing seat with two flat seats for ages three plus; inclusive wheelchair roundabout for ages two plus; accessible spring rocker for ages two plus; inclusive multi-activity play unit for ages two to eight.

A multi-activity play unit for ages three plus; a virtuoso tube chime auditory sensory play panel for ages two plus; a giant noughts-and-crosses visual tactile sensory play panel for ages two pus; an ecoplastic seating bench with back rest and arm rests and a litter bin.

Officers are of the opinion “the new play park facility is of a high standard of design and will not detract from the character and appearance of the area”.

It is also noted that no parking is to be provided for the development as “the majority of users will be local residents who will access the site on foot”.

Councillor Paul Duffy said he knew the development would be welcomed in the area and asked if there was a timescale for completion if the application was to be approved.

A planning officer advised that no timescales were provided as part of the application but told the committee they were aware Council is “keen to make progress” on the development and is “sure it would be implemented quite quickly after the decision is made”.

Alderman Sydney Anderson said it is a long awaited play facility that has been much needed in the area as the Birches “has not had much in terms of play facilities” and said he was sure the young people down there would really like to see the play park “up and running ASAP”.

“A play park has recently opened in Scotch Street so it is good to see this Council going out and bringing these facilities to areas where they are much needed,” he said.

Alderman Kenneth Twyble said he was “happy to welcome the application” while Councillor Kyle Moutray said it was “great to see another facility come to fruition and meet all aspects of the report and public consultation”.

A proposal to approve the application was then put forward by Alderman Sydney Anderson and seconded by Councillor Paul Duffy before the committee voiced its approval for the proposal.

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