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Community groups critical of Brooke Park facilities and football pitches

Derry council has ‘no concerns’ around maintenance of its pitches

Community groups critical of Brooke Park facilities and football pitches

The grass pitch at Brooke Park

Users of Brooke Park football pitches have expressed concerns about a lack of facilities for community groups and the “absolutely shocking” condition of the grass surface.

Football coach, Paul Roddy, raised a number of issues with council officials and local representatives.  A public meeting proposed by People Before Profit Councillor Shaun Harkin in October had to be rescheduled due to the Westminster elections.  It has now been rearranged for Wednesday, January 29.

Mr Roddy said Brooke Park user groups are growing increasingly frustrated and the current difficulties are not going away.

He said: “Council is required to give those young users facilities fit for use, it's not enough to build new facilities then not actually maintain them or provide young children with adequate changing facilities and playing surfaces.

“To date members of staff at Brooke park are trying their very best to maintain good standards on the 3G pitch and the grass pitch but we the users don't think that's particularly their responsibility.

“The same staff are being as accommodating as possible regarding changing and traffic control but again to a degree their hands are tied.  

“We the users need proper full-time solutions put in place by council we need grounds maintenance to play a proper role, we also need long-term solutions to changing, storage, parking, bookings and we need answers surrounding constant rumours we hear and see in local papers about the long-term reconfiguration of Brooke park's leisure centre.”

He added: “We all know during the lengthy process that was the Brooke park regeneration program, local user groups, local community groups and some councillors held the council to account regarding providing proper facilities for particularly Rosemount and the surrounding areas.

“But does it always have to be the case that we the users have to continually box with council, sometimes in the shadows, to badger them to provide the best for our young people?

“During recent elections various representatives from all local parties called at my door, I asked them about Brooke park and all the above.  I got the same answer from them all, ‘you users provide a great community service’.”

He concluded by saying that City of Culture money was made available to lay the grass pitch at Brooke Park but it is in “absolutely shocking condition” and a poor legacy of that year.

‘No concerns’

People Before Profit councillor for the area, Shaun Harkin, said service users are paying a lot of money for the facilities and “deserve better”.

Mr Harkin believes that the concerns of user groups and the local community need to be taken into account and the council must be transparent about its long-term plans for the upper section of Brooke Park – which takes in the 3G and grass pitches, as well as the leisure centre.

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that Council has “no concerns” around the maintenance of its pitches and reassured the public that a structured maintenance programme and high level of attention is given to all facilities across the Council.

“The Council communicates regular with user groups and a further meeting with this user group is scheduled in the coming weeks. With reference to the redevelopment plans, Council has agreed to provide a new bowling pavilion and a new Health suite at the Brooke Park facility.

“In addition a new traffic management plan and associated works is to be implemented with monies to be spent on this. All of these works will take place during 2020.”

Brooke Park users are invited to attend a meeting on Wednesday 29th January at 4pm in Brooke Park Bowling Club.

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