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Save Craigavon City Park and Lakes protest against plans for new £45n Southern Regional College campus at South Lake

A large crowd gathered outside Craigavon Civic Centre on Monday to protest against plans for a new Southern Regional College campus at the South Lake.

Save Craigavon City Park and Lakes group planned to present a petition to Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council’s Chief Executive Roger Wilson.

The group claimed they were unable to do.

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The protest group claims to have 6,700 signatures on a petition and over 350 written objections to the proposed SRC campus.

“Council is turning our park into just another black path,” said the commnity group’s secretary, Kelly Laverty. “It is totally unacceptable, and it is not going down well with local people.

“This would never happen in any other park in the area, so why should we accept it here?

“...There would be uproar if they decided to do this to Lurgan Park or any other park in this borough.

“Craigavon City Park was built as a park for the new town of Craigavon ...”

Ms Laverty said the City Park had got a lot of people through lockdown, and claimed the number of users had increased significantly since then. “It helps a lot of us with both physical and mental health issues,” she said. “It is a fabulous leisure resource that brings people into the area.

“We will not be able to use our park in the same way if any of this is allowed to go ahead.”

The Save Craigavon City Park and Lakes Community Group doesn’t dispute that the planned SRC campus would be of community benefit, and argues not against building a new SRC campus, but against the choice of site, where the benefit, it says, is more than offset by what would be lost.

“If they build it somewhere else the community benefit would be much greater,” said Ms Laverty. “We would have a campus and a park instead of a campus in a park.

A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said, “As this is an ongoing legal matter, the council will not be commenting at this time.”

Ms Laverty said the community group’s case was due to be heard in the Court of Appeal on June 21.

“ We are hopeful that we will win this time,” she added. “...We will continue to fight to save our park because what they are doing is wrong on every level.”

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