Plea to develop Delamont Country Park

Plea to develop Delamont Country Park

11 October 2017

A CASE has been made to increase facilities at Delamont Country Park in a bid to attract more visitors to the stunning location on the shores of Strangford Lough.

Senior Newry, Mourne and Down Council officials have been asked by Rowallane councillors to consider providing a number of new facilities including mini golf, a small concert venue and enhanced water sport activities.

The suggestions were tabled by councillors Billy Walker, Terry Andrews and Harry Harvey during a meeting last week with the local authority’s Director of Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism, Marie Ward, and her deputy, Andy Patterson.

Delamont is already hugely popular and is one of the most visited attractions within the council area. Rowallane councillors believe more can be done to attract additional visitors alongside new investment to further cement its position as a top attraction.

Councillor Walker said he and his colleagues arranged the meeting to outline their concern about the country park’s lack of marketing and to suggest new attractions which would help make it even more popular.

“We suggested the walled garden could be redeveloped as a potential venue for open air concerts, while there is scope for a new crazy golf course or pitch and putt facility,” he continued. “We feel more needs to be done to promote water sports on the shores of the park which has already hosted hugely successful Skiffie racing competitions.”

Councillor Walker said while Delamont already attracts large numbers of visitors and operates a  successful caravan park, it has the scope to offer new facilities alongside the popular miniature railway and new cafe which opened recently.

He added: “Delamont is a first class asset, one we all want to see expanded. The park is located at the gateway to our district from neighbouring North Down and Ards and we believe that enhanced marketing in this area can pay a handsome dividend. Council officials have taken our ideas on board and we plan to have a series of follow-up meetings.”

Councillor Andrews, who paid tribute to the staff at Delamont for their efforts in keeping the park in pristine condition, believes there is scope for developing new attractions and enhancing what he suggested is “one of the jewels in the district’s tourism crown.”

He added: “Delamont is a wonderful facility which offers tremendous scope to enhance what it already offers. Rowallane councillors are keen to see more facilities provided there and we hope that by working alongside council officials this can happen and we can make the country park even better. Additional visitors will hopefully provide neighbouring towns and villages with an economic boost.”

Councillor Harvey said while he is keen to see new facilities, it is important they blend in with the park’s stunning surroundings, with the local politician hopeful more can be provided to meet the needs of visitors and local people alike.

“What we do not want to do is see anything which would interfere with the natural landscape at Delamont. We need to sit down with council officials to come up with an agreed plan which will have the support of everyone,” he said.