Delight at news of leisure centre for Ballycastle

Elected representatives have been reacting with delight to news that Ballycastle is to get a £8.1m leisure centre facility in the PM’s ‘levelling up’ funding.

Ballycastle Sinn Fein councillor, Cllr Cara McShane, said: "This is brilliant news for Ballycastle and the wider Glens community. The indoor leisure facility for Ballycastle has been a legacy Moyle Council project for many years.

"I would like to thank the Strategic Investment Board officers and Council staff who submitted a strong application to the Levelling Up Fund in recent months. As noted in the application, Ballycastle has been ‘starved of investment.’

“The only indoor leisure facilities are in a 60+ year old converted school with no swimming pool and the community here has long campaigned for facilities/services equivalent with other parts of Causeway Coast and Glens Council area. The total investment in this wet leisure centre is around £15million, which will act as a growth stimulus.

Cllr Cara McShane

"When completed, the indoor leisure facility will compliment Council's investment in the Shared Campus project on Moyle road which will provide for outdoor pitches - including the conversion of a grass soccer pitch to 3G; floodlighting; upgrade of three court sports hall to four court; and upgrade of changing and ancillary accommodation."

SDLP Group Leader on Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Cllr Margaret Anne McKillop said: “I have been highlighting the lack of indoor facilities in the area for some time and this new leisure centre with its gym and indoor pool will provide an important community space, particularly during the winter months in poorer weather conditions.

“I look forward to seeing work begin on this key project that has the potential to be transformational for people living in this area. Ballycastle deserves the same facilities as every other part of our council area and I will keep fighting to ensure that’s the case going forward.”

North Antrim UUP MLA Robin Swann said: “At a recent meeting with the Chief Executive of the Council, Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce, Councillor Joan Baird and UUP Glens representative Wesley Craig, this bid was discussed alongside a number of other projects that were seen as being necessary for the further development of the town.

Cllr Margaret Anne McKillop

“There should be no delay in getting it started working in partnership with those who represent the area to ensure that it brings the maximum benefit and works in conjunction with the other projects that are planned.

“Ballycastle has often felt left behind since the amalgamation of the old councils; hopefully this will be the start of a revitalisation of the town for the good of all.”

Councillor Baird said: "I have worked hard over the past six years to keep this project at the forefront in Council. The plans for the facility went out to public consultation some six years ago raising public expectations, but as we know nothing happened.

“The plans have recently been updated and I urge Council to move swiftly to put out a tender for the scheme. This facility will mean that people from Ballycastle and surrounding rural area will not have a 34-mile round trip for a swim. It will greatly benefit our schools who currently must compete for swimming slots at the Joey Dunlop Centre.”

North Antrim UUP MLA Robin Swann
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Cllr Joan Baird