Council set to decide on fate of Jennings Park

November 17, 2014

Residents in Newry’s Meadow area should discover this week if Newry and Mourne District Council will go ahead with the proposed sale of Jennings Park to make way for a new Health Hub in the city.

Newry City Sinn Féin councillor Charlie Casey has said the overwhelming opposition by the local community and user groups in relation to the sale of of the site for development as a Health Centre Hub is a clear enough indication there is no support for the sale option.

Speaking ahead of today’s District Development meeting – where the full report of last Wednesday’s Councillors meeting to consider the results of the survey regarding the sale of the site is expected to be discussed, Mr Casey said the opposition was not a reflection on the proposal of a Health Hub facility, but on the sale of Jennings Park for the hub.

The councillor said the “vast majority of locals” do not believe the grounds in Newry’s Meadow area to be the appropriate site for the new Community Treatment Centre.

“I always felt that this would be the outcome but am content that the consultation process agreed by Council was the correct procedure to record that opposition.” he said.

The proposal to sell Jennings Park had been met with fierce opposition by the local community after residents received a Council consultation letter on the matter which advised of the potential sale of the site and the importance of receiving the views of local residents before the Council would make a decision on whether to put the land on the open market for all potential bidders to submit a bid to purchase.

The possible sale sparked a campaign to save the Meadow grounds with the local community drafting a response to the Council consultation which highlighted their concerns  that the volume of extra traffic and pollution the Health Hub would generate in the already built up area would not be sustainable given the infrastructure in place at the Meadow.  The group also underlined Jennings Park’s long tradition of recreational and sporting use for people and local football teams in the area and made clear the widespread opposition in the community to the loss of their “green space.”

As the campaign gathered pace, a petition to save the park, signed by over 1,000 people, made up of local residents and business people,  was presented to the Council to demonstrate the depth of local sentiment against the potential sale.

With public opinion made abundantly clear, Mr Casey has called on the Council to “inform those who had come to the Council with their proposals which included the sale of Jennings Park, that it is no longer a viable option and that they should pursue other more appropriate sites for consideration.”

The Sinn Fein councillor said this is what he expects will happen when the Council discuss the matter today.