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.
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”.