Residents’ concern over Metropole park

Portrush residents concerned about the possible sale of an area of green space in the town have started a social media campaign of opposition.

The Facebook page entitled ‘Metropole Park Not for Sale’ is encouraging concerned residents to lobby councillors regarding reports that a sale of the council-owned Dunluce Centre could also include sale of the green area at Metropole Park.

Earlier this month, Portrush UUP Alderman Norman Hillis’ request to openly discuss the possible sale of land at Metropole Park, was denied at Causeway Coast and Glens Leisure & Development Committee.

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The sale of the Dunluce Centre was to be heard ‘in committee’, however, Ald Hillis asked if the lands at Metropole Park, on which the Dunluce Centre sits, be discussed in public. It is understood that the preferred bidder is asking for four extra acres of the adjacent land.

A leaflet outlining some of the concerns

Ald Hillis said he was concerned that progress on the sale was being “stage managed”, adding that he felt “councillors like myself are being ignored”. He said: “I understand that lands next to the Dunluce Centre may be considered and now it’s part and parcel of the sale. That’s in the public interest.

“Before you know it two thirds of the Metropole Park will have vanished into private hands.”

A council spokesperson said: “The ongoing process to develop the Dunluce Centre and optional adjacent lands will be considered by councillors in May. As this matter has a commercial and legal dimension, it is appropriate to hold the discussion ‘in committee’ in accordance with the Local Government Act (NI) 2014.​”