Markethill looks set to get new MUGA and play park facilities

Thursday, 15 March 2018

A NEW play park, multi-use games area (MUGA) and car park for Markethill Primary School looked set to be approved by councillors last night (Monday).
The plan which was due before a meeting of the Leisure and Community Services Committee would see a partnership formed between council and the Education Authority, which will see leisure facilities being made available for the community.
A contribution of 160,000 will be required from the capital play budget towards the MUGA and play park development.
Other costs will include a yearly routine maintenance fee of 2,062.87, as well as 30,000 in 10 years for the replacement of synthetic carpet.
A report had initially been presented to the Armagh legacy council in June 2014, setting out a capital programme of work in relation to play.
Towards the end of last year, the Education Authority approached the council stating they were investigating the possibility of securing funding to futureproof the school in relation to additional parking, MUGA, fencing and re-routing of the public right of way through the site.
In February, the Education Authority confirmed they had secured funding in the region of 420,000.
With the council having already agreed to contribute 100,000 for the play park, the Educating Authority is now requesting that they consider funding a further 60,000 towards the MUGA.
The introduction of the MUGA would result in the council entering into an annual maintenance contract with the school on a 50/50 basis, with a 50 per cent contribution in year 10 for the replacement of the synthetic carpet.
The maintenance and replacement costs of the MUGA have been estimated at around 3,000 per annum.
A new planning application would now be required for the revised scheme which will be submitted in due course by the Education Authority.
Ulster Unionist representative, Alderman Jim Speers MBE described the initiative as the "first major step" in what he sees as "a wider masterplan in relation to Markethill".
“A number of years ago, prior to the end of Armagh Council, I secured 75,000 for a state-of-the-art play area in Markethill and after discussions with Markethill Primary School and the community, the provision of a shared use facility is now coming forward," he said.
“I have been involved in trying to bring this forward for a number of years and this is the first step of physical manifestation."
Alderman Speers said the relocation of an existing pathway at Markethill Primary will ensure the school is properly integrated with the rest of its estate.
“There is currently a pathway from Mowhan Road and Bunker Hill and Newry Street and if children are going to play they have to cross two gates, one in and one out of it and this will mean the relocation of that path which is a major opportunity for the school.
“This could be the first of many meaningful developments for Markethill," added Alderman Speers, who initiated the original discussions with the Armagh legacy council in relation to the development of Gosford Park and "is pleased to see this moving forward".


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