Mid Ulster District Council’s Planning Committee has given the green light to the remaining phase of the £1M scheme to enhance leisure facilities at Maghera Leisure Centre, with proposed floodlighting at the site’s new 3G pitch now approved.
The scheme is part of an overall £5.2M investment in leisure and outdoor recreation facilities across the district by the Council.
Work continues at the site to complete the underlying ground works for the new 3G pitch before the specialist surface is laid.
A visible transformation has already taken place on the site of the former police station adjacent to the existing leisure centre, with the removal of the boundary walls and opening up of the site.
Funding for this project was approved through Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership under its Village Renewal Scheme, part-funded under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the European Union, with the remainder of the investment from Mid Ulster District Council.
Chair of the Council’s Planning Committee, Councillor Séan McPeake, said the timing of the approval was important.
“From a planning perspective, this decision illustrates how planning has such a vital role in supporting the vision of our Community Plan to create a region which is a welcoming place, where our people are content, healthy and safe," he said.
"This focus has never been more important than now, when taking care of our health and well-being has come to the fore for each and every one of us.”
Chair of Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership, Conor Corr said the development would have a significant impact.
“This is one of a number of strategic projects supported under the Partnership’s Village Renewal Scheme," he said.
"Having provided 75% of the funding from our enhanced budget of £3.15m of EU LEADER funding for village renewal projects, this scheme will also have significant local impact by addressing some of the key issues identified by those who live in Maghera.
"Having that local input and consultation has been a key factor in making projects such as this both successful and sustainable”.
Extended car parking, landscaping, a new trim trail and an all-inclusive play area will complete the project when works finish in the spring and it is hoped that access to the pitch will be made available following the lifting of current Covid-19 restrictions.
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