Delamont gets green light for vital facelift

Delamont gets green light for vital facelift

15 August 2018

WORK is to start on a major new plan aimed at substantially enhancing Delamont Country Park.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is keen to maximise the full potential park of the park outside Killyleagh and has confirmed it aims to develop a masterplan to take this forward.

The local authority is in the process of appointing consultants to deliver a plan which will shape the development of the park over the next decade. Funding of £25,000 has been set aside to complete the process.

This week, politicians gave the green light for what is being billed as a “comprehensive engagement process” which will involve local people being asked for their views on how the park can be transformed to attract even more visitors.

Council officials say Delamont is “of significant tourism value” and its future development is something they want to get right. In addition to residents being asked for their views, local businesses and all stakeholders will also be consulted.

Discussions about the future of the park outside Killyleagh have already been held with representatives from the Education Authority which runs a very successful outdoor education at Delamont. Several user groups have also been consulted on the way forward.

Agreement to start work on an eagerly-anticipated masterplan and public consultation process came at Monday’s meeting of the local authority’s Economic, Regeneration and Tourism Committee.

News of the local authority’s intention to make one of its best visitor attractions even better, comes two weeks after local councillor Billy Walker urged the organisation to invest more money in the country park which currently attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, but there is growing concern about the lack of things for people to do. 

Stunning picturesque walks are hugely popular, as is a children’s adventure playground, miniature railway and cafe, but Cllr Walker argues more investment is needed to enhance what the park has to offer.

Welcoming the planned consultation as part of the new masterplan, he believes much-needed investment will be money well spent, helping raise Delamont’s profile and boost visitor figures further.

He has already met with education officials and believes there is “massive untapped potential” at Delamont which the new vision for the future must help unlock.

He declared: “I believe the potential for exciting new development is enormous and that the park should enjoy the levels of investment council officials are pouring into other areas. 

“People have already approached me with their suggestions for new facilities which include a pitch and putt course, bowling green, water sports, dedicated camping site and disc golf. I am keen to see the walled garden opened to the public and believe it would be a terrific venue for outdoor concerts.”

He said the masterplan can pave the way for new investment and is appealing to people in Killyleagh and other parts of the district to fully engage in the proposed consultation to cement Delamont’s position as “one of the jewels in the district’s tourism crown.”

He added: “The country park is an important tourism asset which needs to be expanded. New investment and expansion will also provide a boost for the local economy.”