Call to address flooding

Call to address flooding

9 October 2019

A SITE meeting takes place in Downpatrick later today in a bid to find solutions to a persistent flooding problem at the St Dillon’s Avenue sports pitches.

A large section of land has been under water for a considerable number of months with the issue a major concern for residents and elected representatives.

There are suggestions locally that work at the former Downe Hospital site — which is located  nearby — could be contributing to the flooding issue.

Local people have reported that for years, storm water run-off from the nearby Knocknashinna housing estate made its way under the sports pitches at St Dillon’s Avenue and into a stream located at the rear of the former St John’s House residential care home located at the old hospital site.

The water in the stream then made its way to marshland on the Ballydugan Road. There are reports that the stream may have been impacted as a result of work at the old hospital site to provide new social housing.

The suggestion is one of the issues expected to come under the microscope at today’s meeting which will be attended by representatives from the Rivers Agency.

The meeting has been organised by South Down MLA Colin McGrath who has been made aware of the flooding problem by concerned residents.

He said the flooding issue surfaced over the summer months, confirming that he is also aware of reports that the issue could be connected to building work at the former hospital site.

“It is such a shame to see the state of these pitches that for many generations in Downpatrick were their school playing fields,” continued Mr McGrath. 

“I have organised today’s meeting with the Rivers Agency to demand resolution to this matter as swiftly as possible.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education, which is responsible for the St Dillon’s Avenue sports pitches, said the organisation is working with the Education Authority to assess the causes and impact of the flooding.