New £23,000 cricket pitch approved for Antrim’s Allen Park

A new cricket pitch is to be developed at Allen Park in Antrim at a cost of £23,000, councillors have agreed.
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A section of unused land in the park at Castle Road has been earmarked for development by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to include the creation of an artificial wicket, purchase of sight screens, a portable scoreboard and a small shelter for teams.

The recommendation that approval be given for the development of the pitch was proposed by Antrim Ulster Unionist Councillor Leah Smyth and seconded by Antrim DUP Alderman John Smyth at a meeting of the local government authority’s Operations Committee on Monday evening.

It is expected the new pitch at Allen Park will be maintained by the borough council’s parks team and available to book at a cost of £90 for a match and £30 for training.

Allen Park, Antrim. Pic:  Google MapsAllen Park, Antrim. Pic:  Google Maps
Allen Park, Antrim. Pic: Google Maps

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has been working with Muckamore Cricket Club to improve facilities. In 2021, the council approved £21,500 in financial support for Muckamore Cricket Club to extend the height of the ball stop fence on the secondary cricket pitch “to mitigate a health and safety risk to a new neighbouring housing development”.

However, a report to the council’s Operations Committee indicated that further investment of up to £100k may be required “due to ground conditions”.

The club, which is due to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year, has since taken interim measures including “bowling to one end of the wicket and relocating matches to other venues”, the report stated.

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The club has six senior men’s teams, a youth section for children aged four years upwards and a “growing” ladies’ section. Muckamore Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club has been part of the community since it was established in 1874 by York Street Flax Spinning Company.

Separately, at the same meeting, councillors were told that Ballyearl Arts and Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey was the winner in both regional and national categories of Leisure Centre of the Year in the UK Active Awards 2023

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter