Marine Gardens playpark to see 'improved security' and new Changing Places facilities as part of refurbishment

Improved security, new play equipment, and the provision of a Changing Places unit are among the plans for the redevelopment of Marine Gardens playpark in Carrickfergus.
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Upgrades to the seafront park are due to commence this month, with an anticipated completion date of July 2024.

Commenting on the plans, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “This transformative project will create an accessible and inclusive play space, bringing adventure, excitement and fun to children and families in the local community.”

The council has also secured £29,000 funding through the Department for Communities’ Access and Inclusion Fund to enable the purchase of a Changing Places unit for the park, to be launched alongside the re-opening of the play area.

The highly anticipated development of Marine Gardens play park in Carrickfergus will commence this month.  Photo: Mid and East Antrim Borough CouncilThe highly anticipated development of Marine Gardens play park in Carrickfergus will commence this month.  Photo: Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
The highly anticipated development of Marine Gardens play park in Carrickfergus will commence this month. Photo: Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

The flagship playpark was installed in 2012 as part of wider refurbishment of the Marine Gardens area.

With a maritime theme, it has a 30 foot play-ship as its centrepiece, named The Result after the last schooner to be built in Carrickfergus in 1893.

However, the area has been plagued by antisocial behaviour and vandalism in recent years, with damage caused to play equipment on more than one occasion.

Redevelopment plans for the park were announced last summer after councillors heard that the current equipment was “no longer fit for purpose”.

When asked about CCTV monitoring of the area, a spokesperson for the council said: “CCTV is already on site; however, upgrades to the current provision will provide improved security.”

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The local authority added that it had collaborated with industry-leading experts to design a space that will “inspire imagination, encourage physical activity and foster social connections”.

Play equipment that will promote physical development, cognitive skills and sensory exploration has been selected, from slides and climbing frames to interactive sensory areas and inclusive swings.

The design will also incorporate accessible pathways, ensuring that children, parents and carers with mobility challenges can navigate the space independently. Seating areas will also be available, allowing parents and caregivers to relax and supervise their children comfortably.

Mayor of the borough, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said: "Marine Gardens play park is a testament to the council’s commitment to create a vibrant and inclusive community. This new play park will be an amazing site full of fun and adventure for children of all abilities."