Councillors showed a united front last night backing future investment and regeneration in the Brownlow area following the go-ahead for a new leisure centre at Craigavon.
SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden proposed a motion that Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council invest in the area and engage with the community on the way forward.
Cllr McAlinden believes a new integrated development plan for Brownlow is the way forward.
The motion urges the council to bring forward proposals for ‘the future integrated social, economic and physical regeneration of the Brownlow (and surrounding area)’.
It called for proposals which ‘should be informed by other statutory documents and should address economic, social and physical regeneration as well as the need to identify open space’.
Following recent outcrys from the Save Craigavon Park and Lakes group about lack of consultation regarding the new Southern Regional College, the motion also urged that the council ensure there is community engagement and consultation on a proposed Integrated Development Plan for the Brownlow area.
Sinn Féin councillors sought to ammend the Notice of Motion, however that ammendment was defeated.
Sinn Féin Group Leader, Fergal Lennon, welcomed council decision to bring forward Brownlow Regeneration.
He said: “The Sinn Fein team are delighted that this motion passed with unanimous support. Whilst the interest from other parties is belated it is now nonetheless welcome. Sinn Féin have long been working alongside the community to campaign for greater recognition of the positive work going on in Brownlow. As a result we have consistently argued for further investment in the Brownlow area. We have been to the fore of efforts to get increased investment and development into the area for many years in partnership with local residents and community activists. Recognition therefore must be given to the fantastic work that has been going on at a community level led by many people on a voluntary basis on the ground.
He continued: “The SDLPs contribution and recognition of those efforts has been very late in arriving, it is nonetheless good news that they have finally listened to our repeated calls for a structured and strategic approach to ongoing regeneration of the area.
“It is disappointing that our amendment, which would have enhanced the orginial motion, was not accepted.”