Plans have been approved for a new urban sports park at the Valley Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Planning Committee voted unanimously in favour of the V36 project.
Part of the local authority’s Shared Spaces and Services Programme and funded under the EU PEACE IV initiative, the park was identified through consultation as something unique to the area which could deliver significant benefits particularly for young people.
Welcoming the decision, Alderman Phillip Brett, committee chairperson, said: “The addition of the urban sports park will truly enhance the offer at V36 for all skating and biking enthusiasts.
“The urban sports park will be the biggest in Ireland, offering a first class experience for amateurs and professionals.
A reference group has been formed from those who expressed an interest during the consultation process, and is made up of urban sports enthusiasts. It has four representatives who sit on a stakeholder group, which also includes council representatives.
Mr Brett added: “The council has engaged with a range of stakeholders to ensure that the design and operation of the sports park will meet the needs of users of all ages and abilities.
“We are very excited that this project has come to fruition and particularly thank the Special European Union Programmes Body for the funding of £147,548.04 which will enable the council to deliver this fantastic scheme.”
Ongoing work with the reference group will continue via the council’s Leisure team, through which they will help to shape a development plan for the park, assist in ensuring ongoing use, attract events and promote urban sports.
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland. It is anticipated the park will be completed in 2020.