Ballykinlar community hub moves step forward

Ballykinlar community hub moves step forward

9 January 2019

THE provision of a new community facility in Ballykinlar has taken another major step forward this week.

Local planning officials are recommending that a 2.4-metre high metal fence can be erected around the former Kindle 

Primary School site at the Commons Road in the village.

The site has been earmarked by Newry, Mourne and Down Council as the new home for a building formerly used by the Fire and Rescue Service in Downpatrick to provide a much-needed community hub for people in Ballykinlar and Tyrella areas.

Planning permission to relocate the prefabricated building from Downpatrick to Ballykinlar has already been secured, with the recommendation to approve the erection of the new security fence due to be rubber-stamped at next week’s meeting of the local authority’s Planning Committee.

Council officials are pleased the plan to relocate the single storey building from the former Down Council’s Strangford Road base to the Commons Road has been approved and hope the green light to provide the new fence will be given on Wednesday of next week.

There has been a major campaign for a new community facility in the village which has missed out on significant local authority investment over many years.

Council officials have taken over the Commons Road site from the Education Authority and it is hoped work will start shortly to dismantle the building in Downpatrick before being moved to the village.

The Ballykinlar and Tyrella Community Association has been working alongside the County Down Rural Community Network on developing a range of new activities in Ballykinlar and is keen to see a new community hub in position.

It is understood that the prefabricated structure —  which contains toilets, a kitchen and large meeting spaces — requires some internal modifications to make it suitable for community use.

The structure will be dismantled by contractors before being loaded on to lorries and  transported by road to the Commons Road site.

Cllr Dermot Curran, who has been working with community officials in Ballykinlar to secure new facilities, hopes that once formal planning approval for the fence around the former school site is in place, work to move the old Fire and Rescue Service building will get underway.

He paid tribute to the work of community officials in Ballykinlar and hoped they would soon have a new home which will be able to cater for a wide range of village interests and needs.

“Providing the community with a dedicated venue is long overdue but all the pieces in the jigsaw are now falling into place,” he said.

“It has taken longer than expected to reach this point, but progress is now being made. It is important that every effort is mad to relocate the building to Ballykinlar as soon as possible.”

Cllr Curran said providing a new community facility in the heart of the village signalled Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s commitment to the people who lived there. He said the new facility will be able to accommodate a number of community activities which is important.

He added: “I hope the start of the New Year signals the start of a much brighter future for people in Ballykinlar and Tyrella and that they will soon have the community facility that they need and deserve.”