Archive for the 'Parks/National Park' Category

REPORT BACK TO FELLOW COUNCILORS FROM MEETING WITH STRANGFORD COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LAST FRIDAY

Dear Fellow Councillors,

I met with members of the Strangford Community Association on Friday as promised and here is my report back to you as requested.

The Community Association agreed that they had indeed met with Marie Ward and her staff and reviewed her proposals back in 2011, but had explained to her at that time that what Council was proposing was way off the mark, and would render the lower green unusable for the community. Hence they were enormously surprised when an almost identical plan came back as part of the Mournes Coastal Route plan.

As you know, DRAP has, since then, funded a Village Plan which, following much local consultation,  is widely supported by the community. It has the backing of the Festival Committee. The Inverbrena hall committee and local sports and other clubs.

This SCA plan sees the lower village green continuing as the centre of village life, in the community and being used for a wide range of community activities.

Examples of the lower green being used as a multi use venue for events include;:

  • The annual village festival
  • The annual fun-fair
  • Used for the mobile cinema which visits Strangford regularly
  • As a mustering point for groups arriving in Strangford before embarkation on the Ferry
  • As a scenic display area for vintage cars during their visit
  • As a place to put the big marque tent for big groups of tourists. For instance the bicycle tour that regularly calls in Strangford for refreshments
  • As a (free) launching and recovery area for boats belonging to local people also for visiting tourists and the emergency services (police, coastguard  and fire services) alike. This has been made more difficult these last 2 years as Council has turned it into an unofficial car-park for people, too lazy to use the ferry car-park provided.
  • As a recreation area for picnics, children playing etc.

Thus you will understand that when I shared Marie Wards plan with the community  members, there was a very negative reaction. Key local objections included;

  • Disagreement over her effective change of use from the green’s traditional use as a common area.
  • Fencing off the green and surrounding it with shrubs would eliminate almost all the uses the green is currently put to, outlined above.  The proposed shrubs would have to be resistant to regular salt water flooding!
  • Putting a giant piece of public art in the centre of the tiny bit of green space remaining would wipe out the lower green as a usable social space.
  • They were not happy about losing green grass on the seaward side either, they saw no purpose in paving over the green area. The area beside the quay has been strengthened and protected with a plastic matrix material that allows grass to grow though whilst preventing damage.  The community are happy with this arrangement as it facilitates the lower green as a flexible space that can be used for multiple purposes – extending up from the water during the boat launching season – or reaching down to seaward to create a bigger recreation area for children or for events being held on the green.
  • The proposed fencing and shrubbery would block the drive-in entrance on the village side prevent ingress and exit by vehicles like vintage cars, fairground vehicles and so forth.
  • No-one seems to want the ‘public art’. If we have to have it they suggest it could go on the upper green which is already used for ornamental purposes – the community does not want the lower green to be converted to another ornamental space as proposed by Council
  • The Strangford Committee plan envisaged the area where the old bus stop used to be (outside Kevin Óg’s) being set back to accomadate buses without blocking traffic. Local people DO NOT WANT the two cherry trees to be cut down as envisaged by the Council Plan, The Council plan incorrectly labels the ferry shelter as a bus shelter in its plan, this is not a bus-stop. The local community regards the new ferry shelter as an eyesore and worse than useless as a protection from the elements, and wants the old shelter in the ferry terminal to be re-opened.
  • People are concerned that the paddling area is marked as ‘redevelopment’. This area needs its pebble beach renewed, but does not need redeveloped. The association noted that sand attracts oil from the ferry and elsewhere, but pebbles stay clean

Marie’s compromise Council  diagram simply removes the formalisation of car-parking in place of illegal parking on the green. This is not enough of a concession – the community needs the maximum amount of green space for the lower green to facilitate its traditional purposes – and the purpose envisaged in the Strangford Village Plan – i.e. being the beating heart of the local community

Given the fact that it is clear that Council Management appear flatly determined to press ahead with their plan, only a consensus by councillors which states that the key aspects of the Strangford Village plan must be observed, is likely to stop management pressing ahead against the clearly articulated views of the local community, as expressed in their village plan,

I hope we can weigh in behind the local community on this, we basically need to tell the Mournes Coastal Project team that they have got it badly wrong in Strangford, and to remove the points objected to above – and include the proposals in the DRAP-funded village plan

Can I suggest an early meeting to instruct management on ‘the will of the council’.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions

Cllr Cadogan Enright

07590462329

LETTER TO DOWN RECORDER IN REPLY TO COUNCIL CHIEF EXECUTIVES LETTER ON VILLAGE GREEN

Sir,

The reply by the Council Chief Executive on his proposed development of our village green in last weeks paper failed to address any of the issues raised by Alan Johnston’s excellent letter the week before.

Councils plan for the lower village green envisages much of it it being turned into an ornamental space like the upper green. The villages own DRAP-funded plan was widely consulted on and sees the lower green as the ‘beating heart’ of the village, continuing to be used as the centre of village life, used for a wide range of community activities.

Examples of the lower green being used in this manner include;

  • The annual village festival
  • The annual fun-fair
  • Used for the mobile cinema which visits Strangford regularly
  • As a mustering point for groups arriving in Strangford before embarkation on the Ferry
  • As a scenic display area for vintage cars during their visit
  • As a place to put the big marque tent for big groups of tourists. For instance the bicycle tour that regularly calls in Strangford for refreshments
  • As a (free) launching and recovery area for boats belonging to local people also for visiting tourists and the emergency services (police, coastguard  and fire services) alike. This has been made more difficult these last 2 years as Council has turned it into an unofficial car-park for people, too lazy to use the ferry car-park provided.
  • As a recreation area for picnics, children playing etc.

When Cllr Cadogan Enright showed us Councils latest proposals last Friday, we had many issues with it;

  • Disagreement over Councils effective change of use from the green’s traditional use as a common area to an ornamental area similar to the upper green.
  • Fencing off the green and surrounding it with shrubs would eliminate almost all the uses the green is currently put to, outlined above.
  • Putting a giant piece of public art in the centre of the tiny bit of green space remaining would wipe out the lower green as a usable social space.
  • We are not happy about losing green grass on the seaward side either. We saw no purpose in paving over the green area. The area beside the quay has been strengthened and protected with a plastic matrix material that allows grass to grow though whilst preventing damage.  The community are happy with this arrangement as it facilitates the lower green as a flexible space that can be used for multiple purposes – extending up from the water during the boat launching season – or reaching down to seaward to create a bigger recreation area for children or for events being held on the green.
  • The proposed fencing and shrubbery would block the drive-in entrance on the village side prevent ingress and exit by vehicles like vintage cars, fairground vehicles, cinema and so forth.
  • No-one seems to want the ‘public art’. If we have to have this we suggest it could go on the upper green which is already used for ornamental purposes – the community does not want the lower green to be converted to another ornamental space as proposed by Council

The Councils compromise proposal simply removes the formalization of car-parking in place of illegal parking on the green. This is not enough of a concession – the community needs the maximum amount of green space for the lower green to facilitate its traditional purposes – and the purpose envisaged in the Strangford Village Plan – i.e. being the beating heart of the local community

We would thank Councillors Cadogan Enright and Liam Johnston for their forthright and public support for us on this issue. We would invite other local councillors to make their views publicly known. We urge all local councillors to get behind the Strangford Community Association.

Diarmuid Riordan, Chair

Gary Laverty, Treasurer

07816868019

STRANGFORD VILLAGE RESISTS MOVES BY COUNCIL ON VILLAGE GREEN

 Press Release by Cllr CADOGAN ENRIGHT  on behalf of Strangford Community Association

Strangford Village Community Association met Friday afternoon to consider compromise proposals from Council over the re-development of the lower village green abutting the slipway in the centre of the village.

examining plans at Stranford Village Green,  Cllr Cadogan Enright on the Lower Green by the slipway. Village committee Chair Diarmuid Riordan is right and treasurer Gary Laverty is left.

examining plans at Stranford Village Green, Cllr Cadogan Enright on the Lower Green by the slipway. Village committee Chair Diarmuid Riordan is right and treasurer Gary Laverty is left.

This followed a meeting of local Councillors at Down District Council on Wednesday afternoon, where Councilor Cadogan Enright was delegated to meet with the Community Association and see if a compromise could be found between the community’s DRAP-funded Strangford Village Plan and the plans put forward by Council management for the lower green area.

Councillor Enright said, “It was clear that the latest proposals from Council are not even beginning to reflect the Strangford Village Plan that was formulated by local people with the help of the Down Rural Area Partnership.  Councils’ Mournes Coastal Route tourist initiative basically seeks to turn most of the lower green into an ornamental space like the upper green”.

Community Association Chair Diarmuid Riordan said “The lower village green is a recreational space for locals and tourists alike. It needs to be preserved for the Village Festival or the funfair or cinema, and for continuing the tradition of launching little boats, or for a safe children’s ‘paddling area’. Council’s so-called ‘Mournes Coastal Route’ can only benefit from such common sense, making our village green a far more attractive space for visitors than just another car-park. We already have an ornamental space at the upper green, we don’t need a second one.”

Community Association treasurer Gary Laverty said “We hope that the current negotiations being brokered between Council and Strangford villagers achieves success. The latest Council compromise diagram simply removes the formalisation of car-parking in place of illegal parking on the green. This is not enough of a concession – the community needs the maximum amount of green space for the lower green to facilitate its traditional purposes – and the purpose envisaged in the Strangford Village Plan – i.e. being the beating heart of the local community.”

Councillor Enright said “Council management declined last week to meet with village representatives, and sought a meeting instead with local councillors to review the revised plans. I know that Strangford Community Association village committee continues to demand a meeting with senior council management. I believe that local Councillors  will have to instruct Council management meet with local people and reflect their needs. It will only help tourism as the village plan was well thought out. I have written to my fellow councilors outlining compromise proposals from the community association meeting on Friday. Hopefully Councillors will ensure that Council Management will see sense, and this issue can be finally laid to rest to the satisfaction of all”.

SKATE BOARDERS and BMX’ERS looking for a home in Downpatrick

Attached is a photograph of Cllr Cadogan Enright with the leaders of Downe Urban Sports Association  Matthew Kennedy front and Kris Burke centre at the Saint Patricks Centre.

Attached is a photograph of Cllr Cadogan Enright with the leaders of Downe Urban Sports Association Matthew Kennedy front and Kris Burke centre at the Saint Patricks Centre.

Independent Downpatrick Councilor Cadogan Enright has helped local young people involved in ‘Urban Sports’set up a club and seek funding for a Downpatrick-based based facility for sports like BMX or Skateboarding.

Councillor Enright said “I  met with a large number of young people at the Saint Patricks Centre on 2 occasions last week to help set them set up a formal sports organization. We discovered from Sports N.I. that there were dozens of Urban Sports clubs across the country but no National umbrella organization. Councils have been building facilities for these sports North and South with the latest one being built by Wicklow County Council. I and have requested a meeting with Down Councils Sports and Leisure managers to see if they can be accommodated in the new Leisure centre.”

“There is a big crowd of BMXers and Skateboarders from all the villages in Down District who want a venue in Downpatrick for their sports – maybe in Dunleath Park. These athletic young people use areas around Downpatrick at the moment like St Patricks Square/ St Patricks Centre which has drawn complaints from some quarters. They are entitled to practice their sports and need somewhere they can go to do it safely and with Council approval.“

Cllr Enright chaired a meeting that had been organized on Facebook, where they ratified a constitution, elected a committee and applied for membership of ‘Sported’ to train them how to apply for grants.

At the inaugural meeting Kris Burke from Ardglass was voted in as Chairperson. Kris said “Many of our members travel into Downpatrick from Killough, Newcastle, Ardglass and other areas to meet and compete with each other at the moment around Downpatrick town centre. We want to see if Down Council can set up with a location that would suit better than the likes of Saint Patricks Square, so that we can encourage a wider participation in these sports.  Ideally a venue near the bus station like Dunleath Park would suit.”

Matthew Kennedy agreed and said “The whole complex in Dunleath Park is being rebuilt at the moment. There must be somewhere our sports can be fitted in in this huge development. There appear to be several areas of derelict land on the site. We want Council management to meet with us to discuss this and to help us apply for funding to Sport NI and the lotto-run ‘Awards for All’”.

 

Oct 23 2013 Tourist Board myopia EXPLORIS and Local tourism industry

Cllr Cadogan Enright continues campaign for Exploris – THIS LETTER WAS ALSO PUBLISHED IN THE IRISH NEWS

Aug 14 2013 Learn How to count butterflies for science and get fit at the same time

aug 14 2013 spot butterflies by CadoganEnright

Looking for volunteers to count butterflies at Killard Nature reserve.

Learn the route, and have healthy exercise in one of Ireland most beautiful locations.

Counting is planned to start in April 2014, and hopefully we will have enough volunteers to count at least weekly to the end of the season in October 2014

2nd August 2013 Big Butterfly Island Odyssey

CADOGAN ENRIGHT COMPLETES ISLAND ODYSSEY FOR BUTTERFLIES 

Cllr Cadogan Enright has highlighted the ‘Big Butterfly Count’ as Wildlife Conservation activity that any family can participate in in their gardens or when out on fun trips to the beach or country.

“It only takes 15 minutes, it would be great to cover the whole County Down.” said Cllr Enright.

‘Healthy’ places should have lots of butterflies in lots of colours.  This year, with the warm weather, there should be considerably more butterflies to see than ever before on the count. You can log onto the ‘Big Butterfly Count’ website, print out ID sheets with easy to recognise pictures, and record your results at  http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/about until Monday 12th August

All the Islands visited and counted

All the Islands visited and counted

Cadogan Enright and his son Cad Óg have just returned from 5 days exploring Strangford Lough by canoe, camping on different islands each night while doing the Big Butterfly Count on every island around the Lough. Strangford Lough is one of our most important wildlife sites, protected as a marine nature reserve, SPA, SAC, Ramsar site, ASSI, AONB etc.  The islands are sunken drumlins, a special land feature which County Down is famous for, produced by glaciers.

“We have family members working in ‘Outdoor Adventure Management’ on the Loch and in the Mourne Mountains, so we familiar with weather conditions, safety and land ownership issues”. Said Cllr Enright

“We counted most of the islands, including one not found on Google – Craigabheigh. This island and several around it were obviously used by geese for roosting at night. It was impossible to count all the butterflies that presented themselves in 15 minutes on some islands. We gave up counting on Parton after 5 minutes when we were overwhelmed by huge clouds of small spear shaped moths rising in the air across the island.

“Some islands had cattle grazing, and we eaten alive by horseflies and mighty glad of the 15 minute rule – this also dictated where we could camp. We avoided nesting areas, saw hundreds of Terns diving for fish and my son Cad Óg was blown away by aerial battles as a buzzard raided seabirds nests on a cliff at the Northern end of Inis Glas while I paddled to Dún Ui Neill. At night there were bats and we had old-fashioned sing-songs around a fire. Nature Conservation can be great fun.”

Clllr Cadogan Enright and Son Cad Óg return on morning of 6th day to Quoile River

Clllr Cadogan Enright and Son Cad Óg return on morning of 6th day to Quoile River

Bad weather and Southerly gales and rain disrupted the return journey by a night, and the Enrights were unable to count the areas around Inis tSagairt properly.  “This was disappointing as counts have shown this island to be an astonishingly diverse habitat in the past. It should be a Nature Reserve in my view.” Said Cllr Enright.

Cad Óg said “It was a really great adventure. We will do this again next year for a whole week.”

The Big Butterfly Count contines that week and Identification Sheets and on-line reporting of your own garden or any location can be accessed at www.bigbutterflycount.org/about

 

Letter to Minister Durkan Oct 2013

Dear Private Office,

I note since the matter of your Departments legal team delaying the issue of bye-laws by up to 5 years was first brought to the Ministers attention, there has been another change of MInister.
This is the third change of Minister since this issues was first raised.
In meetings with Minister Poots and Attwood, both expressed frustration at the slow pace of progress, and came to accept that the slow pace in issueing bye-laws was rooted in outdated practices within the departments legal team, and not with local councils as Ministers had first been incorrectly briefed..
I am writing to
1. Inform you that 3 more months have now passed and the matter is not settled.
2. I welcome your decision to change procedures over the management process for new bye-laws. Myself and Council officers would like the opportunity to be consulted and review the new procedures you refer to in your letter of the 29th June 2013, as we would represent the ‘customers’ of any new procedures. This would be important before new procedures are issued on 31st Dec 2013 as you mentioned in the final para of your letter
3. We note that council mergers are coming up, and thus the department is likely to be hit with a tidal wave of bye-laws, and the 5+ year delays in our bye-laws, if replicated across the North, will result in chaos
Finally, I would ask to be allowed to bring these matters to the new Minister Durkans attention.
Cllr Cadogan Enright

17th March 2013 at the St Patricks day Parade

Cadogan and son (centre) with other councillors and local clergy at the 2013 St Patricks PArade

27th March 2013 Newcastle and District Leisure Centre being stymied by SDLP

SDLP record slammed in Down District in Leisure centre debate

SDLP record slammed in Down District in Leisure centre debate

SDLP record slammed in Down District in Leisure centre debate – SDLP puts itself before the people of Newcastle and District in attempting to halt the new Leisure Centre as Sinn Fein might get the credit

27th March 2013 Newcastle Leisure Centre Debate