THREE village improvement projects funded by GROW South Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council are currently under way in Ballynure.
The projects will see a total of £35,000 being spent on extending and upgrading the existing play area through replacing and providing extra equipment and installing a new perimeter fence. A further £10,000 of funding will enable new lighting to be installed along the existing path at the War Memorial Park, while the centre of the village will be transformed with a new path, flowerbeds and benches through a £12,000 Environmental Improvement Scheme. The subway alongside the river will also have a revamp and undergo a major facelift with paint kindly supplied by Dulux.
Welcoming the start of work on the village improvements, Mayor Victor Robinson commented: “With the current pressures on the public purse, the council is increasingly having to prioritise its spending plans. I am therefore pleased that we, along with GROW South Antrim, have been able to provide the funding for these three projects. It is particularly gratifying that the play area is being upgraded for the young people of the village, although I have no doubt all the projects will be greatly appreciated by the residents of Ballynure.”
Vera McWilliam, Chair of GROW South Antrim’s Local Action Group added: “The whole emphasis of the Rural Development Programme is to improve the quality of life for people who live and work in the country areas of the province. I am delighted that, through GROW South Antrim, Ballynure has been able to take advantage of the money available. I know that the people of Ballynure have been trying to get better facilities, especially for the local young people, for some time and the extended play area was a priority within the Village Plan. This is a great example of local people, council and funders working in partnership to produce real improvements within a community.”
Councillor Mark Cosgrove, Chair of the GROW South Antrim Joint Council Committee, said the ongoing work will bring about significant improvements within the village.
“The Ballynure Village project is exactly what GROW South Antrim’s Rural Development programme was designed to deliver. Working in partnership with Newtownabbey Borough Council and the local community we have been able to deliver very significant improvements to the village of Ballynure which would have been beyond the budgetary constraints of normal ratepayer-funded council schemes,” he explained.
“Over the period of this funding round GROW are investing over £7 million into the rural economy. This money is making a tangible difference on the ground to people’s lives and public amenity. I would like to pay tribute to the local community group in Ballynure for the energy, time and passion they have put in to the entire Ballynure Village Renewal Scheme.”
Commenting on the progress, Kathryn Clarke, Chair of Ballynure and District Community Association said: “The masterplan for the village was published in 2012 and I am delighted that the actions identified within it are already starting to become reality. The community group has seen a major change in personnel over the past couple of years, so it is great that we have been able to get off to such a positive start I would like to thank GROW and the council for their assistance over the past months and we are looking forward to continuing the close relationship with them to complete the other projects in the plan.”