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Savage Welcomes Albert Basin Park Presentation

Commenting on the design consultants’ presentation on the Albert Basin Park, Newry SDLP Councillor Michael Savage said:

“I congratulate the design consultants for what is an excellent concept design that has the potential to deliver a fabulous park that reflects the wishes of the people of our district as outlined in the consultation responses. I believe the concept design captures the vision of our people for a people’s park at the Albert Basin with virtually all their needs met.”

“However I have two striking concerns which relate to the timelines and the costings. Firstly the projected costs of £30.5m is startling and in particular the £10.6m just to clear and cap the site. There is an urgent need for a detailed breakdown on this so that the Project Board and Councillors can scrutinise it in detail as on the face of it this appears to be an incredible amount of money. “

“I am aware of a new Sports Village Complex being developed by ABC Council in Armagh across 45 acres and it is projected to cost around £30 million and it includes a state of the art leisure centre and football pitches. While I am not a Quantity Surveyor I feel these estimates are on the high side in the extreme and will need to be convinced through a detailed analysis of the breakdown.”

“If the capping of the site is costing £10.6 million then the site can only be developed for a park as a costing of this scale means it was never economically viable for commercial development.”

“On the issue of timelines I have raised concerns that Council has passed a proposal that I made that the capping of the site, the greening of the site, the linking of pathways and the provision of a regional play park should be included in Phase One, however the concept design has the play element in Phase 4 which is up to eight years away until it is completed. “

“This is unacceptable and contrary to what was agreed in Council and I will be asking for further clarity if this was reflected in the brief given to the design team as they appear to have gone off script on this element. I do not want the children of this city and district having to wait eight years for a regional play park. “

“We have waited four years and had to climb many hurdles to get this far with the park project and I believe a timeline of eight years before the play element is completed is far too long and again this will also need to face scrutiny from Councillors and the Project Board in the coming months.”

ENDS

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