Decision expected on £3.4m Valley Park plan

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Newtownabbey Borough Council is hoping to get the go-ahead for a £3.4million redevelopment project in the Valley Park within the next few weeks.

A report presented to elected representatives at their monthly meeting on December 23 reveals that a decision by the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) on the council’s funding application is expected “in late December or early January”.

The local authority’s ambitious plan could see the construction of a new 3G sports pitch, an adventure play park and a civic linear park on the site adjacent to the Valley Leisure Centre.

With the council seemingly confident that EU funding that had been set aside for the peace centre development at the former Maze Prison site will be redistributed to other projects such as the Valley Park Shared Space Scheme, members attending Monday’s meeting were due to consider the appointment of a Project Officer to take forward the park development.

“Should the funding be secured the timescale for delivery is very restricted, with completion required by June 2015. In light of this, the procurement process for the design consultant has been commenced and it is anticipated that this appointment will be made in March 2014. SEUPB has been advised of this and it is accepted that this action is ‘at risk’ until such times as the funding is confirmed,” the report said.

“Members will be aware that there is significant development work required in relation to procurement, programming, pricing and community participation to successfully deliver this scheme and draw down the funding awarded. To this end it is proposed that a dedicated Project Officer is appointed to work within the Project Development Team for the period January 2014 until March 31, 2015,” it added.