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Ballymacash hall gets the green light from planners

Councillors William Leathem and Jonathan Craig discuss plans for a proposed new community centre on the site at Rathvarna Drive, Ballymacash, with local residents. US4508-535cdAN ambitious application for a community hall in Ballymacash has been given the green light by planners.

After months of work the North Lisburn Community Investment group have now taken another step towards seeing their dreams become a reality.

As well as the hall with seating and play area, a five-a-side football pitch and car parking has been given the go ahead at Rathvarana Drive.

It marks another step towards the realisation of the scheme, although more money has still to be identified.

Craig Berry, Secretary of North Lisburn Community Investment, said the hall would bring benefits to the whole area.

"North Lisburn is one of the largest urban areas in Lisburn City and it is undergoing a rapid expansion in development, yet the people living here have never had local community facilities" he said.

"Ballymacoss and Ballymacash are areas with significant social and community needs, and the lack of local facilities contributes to the deprivation in the area. A local community facility will help us improve provision of services locally."

Mr Berry said the organisation has been working towards a community facility for four years.

He said: "It has been agreed by the Housing Executive that it will provide the land and Lisburn City Council is willing to contribute over 260 000 to the project. Now another piece in the jigsaw has been put in place. But there is still a lot of work to be done to make this a reality."

Mr Berry said the community infrastructure in the area needed to be built up and urged people in the community to volunteer to help develop more community projects, events and programmes.

"We need to skill up people in the community to help us as we want this centre to be community owned and community led. And we have to secure at least another 500 000 of additional funding to be able to make this dream into a reality for the people of this area.

"If we are successful then the people in this area will have modern facilities from which they take part in recreational programmes, education and training, community events, sports, and access local services."

Councillor Jonathan Craig welcomed the news describing it as a major step forward for the community.

He praised the work of North Lisburn Community Investment saying their plans were very ambitious. "The community up there are set to get a first class facility for their young people" he said.

"The people involved have taken it upon themselves to put the hard work in and it certainly has paid off.

"They have worked closely with major developers in the area and hopefully it will be delivered soon."

Developers and locals unite to boost community spirit

THE project was a given a boost when the North Lisburn Development Consortium (Farrans Construction, Snoddons Construction, Porter Property and Coby Developments) engaged with the local community as part of the major residential and roads delivery project. In conjunction with Lisburn Council, the community and the developers agreed that the Ballymacash community would benefit greatly from a new community focus and a facility which could serve all ages and interests.

The consortium therefore agreed, working with the Council, to promote and submit an outline planning application to establish the principle of a Community Hall within the estate. Planning Permission was recently recommended by the Planning Service which was approvedby the Council's Planning Committee.

David Craigan, spokesman for the Consortium said: "This is terrific news for the community and we are happy to have been involved. The community have been great neighbours during the construction of the Thaxton development and we look forward to continuing to work with the Community Associations in the future."

Ulster Star
14/11/2008