Held in the Falls Park Bowling Pavillion on Tuesday 23.09.14 at 6.30pm
to discuss plans for a 3G pitch
Andrew Hassard, Director of Parks and Leisure and Rose Crozier, Assistant Director fairly earned their pay on Tuesday night in the Falls Park. It was they who were presenting the plans in what was at times a hostile environment.
The presentation started off with a number of interruptions from objecting neighbours and at times it was hard to hear what the council was proposing – even with a microphone.
Neighbours accused the Directors of already signing off on the plans without proper consultation. The Directors said the consultation was widely advertised in local newspapers. The residents loudly disputed this.
Councillors Caoimhin MacGiolla Mhin, Janice Austin, Steven Corr, and Tim Attwood were in attendance although did not address the meeting.
As the meeting went on – more and more people aggressively gave their say.
“Put it in Lady Dixon!” – female neighbour
“The council made the decision to take the grass away from the existing GAA pitch because a maximum of 70 games can only be played on it per year. With 3G, it can be playable at all times. It isn’t just about investing in a pitch. We are very proud of the park.” – Rose Crozier, Assistant Director Parks & Leisure Belfast City Council
“It’s a revenue generator!” – female park user
“You said a decision hadn’t been made but the plans are progressing. It will cause disruption to people who live near it because of traffic going to it!” – Female neighbour
“The construction traffic will be coming through the Whiterock Leisure Centre entrance. The impact of on street parking at the changing facility was considered and it was decided to move it to Whiterock because of the Divis corner issue. There will be lighting for people going up to the changing facility and the lights will go off at 10pm.” – Andrew Hassard, Director of Parks & Leisure Belfast City Council
“People will still drive up through the Falls Park!” – female park user
It was decided for people to take to the mic to have their say – it became clear that the room was physically divided between those for and those against the new plans.
The neighbours at the front of the room lived closest to the new pitch and were very much against it and coaches from local soccer and GAA organisations standing at the back in the company of Steven Corr and Tim Attwood were very much in favour.
As usual with this blog – I will put everyone who had their say in the order in which they said it.
The full planning documents and drawings can be found here
One part of the lengthy document that did come across as interesting was this information. Why did one neighbour send four letters?
See Part 2 for heated exchanges – you’re riveting with excitement aren’t you?