‘Funding challenge could stall Valley Park plan’


The funding for the council’s £3.9 million Valley Park redevelopment project could be the subject of a legal challenge, it has been claimed.

The local authority recently received confirmation from the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) that £3.5million of PEACE III money has been allocated for the shared space scheme, which could see the park transformed through the creation of new sports facilities, a civic linear park and an adventure play park.

However, a source within Newtownabbey Borough Council has claimed that St Enda’s GAC in Glengormley has written to the SEUPB threatening legal action over the funding approval.

The individual, who didn’t want to be identified, commented: “The new 3G pitch at the Valley will be suitable for rugby, football and Gaelic games, but it seems that St Enda’s feel that the need for GAA facilities in the area won’t be met by siting a new pitch at the Valley. They’re not happy. They’ve written to SEUPB to complain and are considering taking a judicial review of its decision.”

The Times put the claims to Ciaran McCavana, chairman of St Enda’s GAC, asking him if the club has written to SEUPB about the matter, and whether or not it is considering taking legal action over the Valley Park funding decision. He declined to comment.

A spokesman for the SEUPB also refused to comment on whether or not they have received a letter threatening legal action over the allocation of funds to the Valley Park project.

“The SEUPB has notified Newtownabbey Borough Council of Steering Committee approval for the ‘Voices of the Valley’ project under the EU’s PEACE III Programme. This offer is still subject to further approval by the Accountable Departments. Until this process is complete the SEUPB cannot comment further on the matter,” he said.

Newtownabbey Borough Council confirmed that it hasn’t received any complaint from St Enda’s about its Valley Park plans. It has said that the new facilities at the park will “ensure that all communities from across the borough and beyond benefit from a unique and valued shared space which provides a welcome, safe and attractive environment for all users.”

Council officials have stressed that “lots of consultation” will take place with local community organisations, schools and sports clubs before the final design of the scheme is agreed.

Barring any hold-ups, the local authority hopes that work on the Valley Park project will be completed by summer 2015.