Anger over play park ‘monstrosity’

The new play area at  Portadown People's Park, which is just opposite the Park Road houses. INPT30-200.
The new play area at Portadown People's Park, which is just opposite the Park Road houses. INPT30-200.

Residents living opposite Portadown People’s Park have described the recently installed play equipment as a “monstrosity”.

The play area is being constructed as part of the £4.5 million redevelopment of the park.

But residents of Park Road say they are disappointed and angry that their view of a hedge and open space has been replaced with something that looks like a

“fairground attraction”,

And they fear that the positioning of the play area, just feet from their homes, will not only affect their quality of life through noise but possible anti-

social behaviour.

However, ABC Council says various consultations were carried out with residents before work

got under way.

The misgivings were vented by many of the residents at a meeting called by ABC Council two weeks ago.

The meeting was originally intended as a vehicle to set up a Neighbourhood Watch group, whereby residents could report any anti-social activity at the park, but instead it was dominated by complaints.

According to a resident, it was a bad-tempered meeting with one person accusing the council of “taking the heart out of our park”.

One woman, who does not wish to be named, said she has had several conversations with a manager from the council, and had even asked them to consider removing the equipment - which she said still has to be secured in place - and replacing it.

She said, “I feel so strongly about this. I don’t object to the play area itself, but I expected something aesthetically pleasing that blends in with the environment.

“There may have been consultations - I am aware of one meeting right at the start - but nobody came to us, as residents living directly opposite it, to ask for our input.

“I often go to play areas, like Loughgall, where everything is made from wood, but here it’s all metal. I have always been happy living here but now I would consider moving. I know some residents further on down aren’t bothered but they are not looking out onto this.”

Her neighbour described the play area, and adjacent car park, as a “concrete jungle” and questioned why it was positioned so close to their homes.

A council spokesperson said various methods of consultation had been undertaken including meetings at Portadown Town Hall and Ashgrove Community Centre.

She said masterplan drawings were also displayed along with feedback questionnaires at various council facilities and research was conducted at council events.

“Following the completion in September, the maintenance and continued improvement of the park will commence when aspects such as additional planting can be reviewed,” she added.

The revamped park will also include three grass pitches, a 3G synthetic pitch, multi-use games area and event space.