NEWTOWNARDS residents are to be given the opportunity to give their views on plans for a major new public park in the town.
Floodgates Park will extend from the Portaferry Road into what is currently waste ground behind the flood defence barrier and will eventually wrap around the proposed new multi-million pound Ards FC complex.
The Floodgates Park plans exist alongside a separate planning application for the new football stadium which has been submitted by the football club.
The plans aim to inject new life into a currently unmanaged site, to create a ‘new public park for Newtownards focusing on the environment, health and wellbeing’.
If given the green light, the council’s plans would see new timber boardwalks placed across two watercourses on the site made up of scrub vegetation, gorse and self-seeded willow trees.
The scheme also aims to make a feature of a World War II ‘pillbox’ – or old guardpost – including new interpretative panels on its history, as well as a new outdoor fitness and play amenities and links to a new greenway.
The public’s views of the plans are being sought during a consultation period which began on Monday and runs until March 13.
A public consultation event is taking place on Tuesday, March 7 at Londonderry Park from 4pm to 8pm when the council’s project team will be available to present the concept proposals and take relevant questions.
“This is your opportunity to tell us what elements you would like to see included or not included in the proposed park, so please come along and have your say,” said a council spokesman.
The plans include play amenity spaces, consisting of natural play dens and timber steps, with complimentary fitness amenity spaces, including natural fitness beams created by the clearing of gorse filled areas.
Event space for large scale events are listed in the scheme, with a levelled space, tiered seating set into sloped embankment and a lookout point to enable visitors to enjoy local scenic vistas.
The park will be bounded by a proposed new greenway which will eventually link Comber to Newtownards and on to Bangor.
The proposed car park will also be available for use by all users of the greenway, an overflow from Londonderry Park and the proposed Floodgates Park,” the council plans state.
“We have also considered an integrated approach, encouraging the use of the Ulster Flying Club and Cloud 9 restaurant,” state details of the plan.
Referring to the football stadium application being progressed by Ards FC, the council plans include a proposed pedestrian link from the stadium to the car park.
Other potential projects include street furniture, including the placement of benches along the existing floodwall, and bins to be replaced. It is also planned that the existing fence be removed and a new fence be installed on the boundary of the green space around the revamped pillbox.
Changes to current entrances to the area are also integral to the plans.
Cap: A plan of the proposed Floodgates Park sitting alongside the new Ards FC complex.