Green Party NI Councillor Lauren Kendall commented after an Ards and North Down Borough Council committee meeting this week: "At a meeting of AND Council’s Community and Wellbeing Committee on 13th October, I voted to support the Council’s 10-year Play Strategy. The Strategy includes a process of consultation and review which will allow members of the public to receive more information, consider proposals in full, and give their views.
"It’s important to me that there is widespread public consultation, which all members of the community have the chance to contribute to, before the Council makes any decisions on the future of our play parks. The Committee considered and rejected an amendment to bypass that consultation process."
Councillors sought clarity about the next steps, and were assured by Council officers that any proposal to close any play park would be brought before Councillors to make a decision on, following consultation.
The Holywood and Clandeboye Councillor said: "The Committee did not decide to close any play parks, and I did not vote to close any play parks. I am aware of the petition, of almost 1700 signatures, opposing the closure of play parks and will ensure that the community’s views are taken into account in any decisions the Council makes.
"Parks and play spaces are incredibly important to communities, and decisions about them should not be undertaken lightly nor without full public consultation. Access to outside space is important for many reasons, including promoting positive physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as encouraging appreciation of, and connection with, the natural environment."