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Mid Ulster

New Consultation On Plans For Gortgonis Leisure Hub

An impression of the proposed leisure, health and well-being hub at Gortgonis, Coalisland.

Mid Ulster District Council is to undertake a renewed consultation with the local community on plans to develop a leisure, health and well-being hub at Gortgonis, Coalisland.

The £5M project will ultimately see a new leisure centre constructed, incorporating a gym, community hall, changing rooms and meeting rooms, with planned outdoor facilities to include a 6-lane running track, 3G pitch, woodland walkways and two connected play areas, one for young children and one equipped for older children.

While a ‘pre-application notification’ (PAN) process was already undertaken by the Council in November 2018, a procedural error with the wording of the public notice advertisement has since been identified and the pre-application notification process, including community consultation is now being re-commenced.

A dedicated website will be available with details of the proposed application, where anyone can leave their feedback online, and two virtual meetings will also be held to allow local people to feedback their views on the proposals.

Residents living within 200m of the site will receive direct notification of the renewed consultation process with feedback forms included in their information packs.

The community consultation opens on Monday 9th August and runs until Friday 23rd August.

Two virtual presentation events will take place on Monday 9th August, the first from 10am to 11am and the second from 6pm to 7pm.

Those interested in registering on either of the events can do so in advance by emailing, specifying their preferred time slot.

To view the plans for the project and to feedback your views, visit from Monday 9 August 2021.

Mid Ulster

Council Celebrates National Allotments Week 2021

Chair of the Council, Councillor Paul McLean is pictured with Angela Lagan from St Mary’s Church Maghera, which was allocated a raised bed in the Walled Garden, Maghera.

To celebrate this year’s National Allotments Week (9 – 15 August), Mid Ulster District Council is holding an outdoor community gardening event on Wednesday 11 August at Maghera Walled Garden.

The event, which is organised in conjunction with The Conservation Volunteers, is free to attend and will promote environmentally friendly gardening and encourage gardeners’ to start growing fruit and veg in a climate friendly manner.

The theme for this year is ‘plotting for the future’ to celebrate the contribution of allotments to a sustainable future.

On the day participants will be guided in small groups around a number of information stalls to :

  • Hear tips and advice on climate friendly gardening
  • Exchange ideas with fellow gardeners
  • Learn to sow some late summer salad crops
  • Find out how to attract pollinators into the garden and gather ideas for simple bee and bug homes
  • Experience and get inspired by the beautiful Walled Garden.

The event is mainly targeted at members of local allotments and community gardening groups but there are also places available for interested residents in Mid Ulster.

To ensure social distancing is adhered to, three different sessions will take place on the day; late morning session, 11am – 12.30pm; mid-day session, 1pm – 2.30pm and the afternoon session, 3pm – 4.30pm.

Chair of the Council, Councillor Paul McLean said,

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a huge increase in home gardening. More people than ever are growing their own fresh fruit and vegetables, which can have an extremely positive effect on overall health and wellbeing.

“With this event, we are hoping to develop this awareness even further and demonstrate how we can all garden in an environmentally friendly way, using less plastic, going peat-free, avoiding chemicals whenever possible, and garden more wildlife friendly to attract beneficial pollinators such as bees and butterflies to our gardens.

“Places are going to book up fast so I would encourage anyone interested to apply now before it’s too late.”

Jenny McGetrick, Senior Project Officer with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) added: “TCV have been working in partnership with Mid Ulster District Council for many years to provide practical support for local allotments and community gardening groups in the area.

“We are delighted to be present at the forthcoming event with plenty of useful information, advice and growing tips on late summer sowing which will help vegetable gardeners to extend their growing season and make best use of available resources in their gardens, backyards or window sills.”

Places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance by emailing stating participants’ name, home address, email address and preferred session. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis so book early to avoid disappointment.

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Mid Ulster

Upgraded Play Facilities Open at Ballyronan Marina

The first phase of an ambitious capital development programme delivered by Mid Ulster District Council at Ballyronan Marina has opened today, following extensive redevelopment of the Lough shore site.

The new facilities were opened by the Chair and Deputy Chair of Mid Ulster District Council and children from the Ballyronan Community Play Group, who were joined by special guest, George McCullough, resident of the Marina Care Home. At 77 Mr. McCullough is the oldest surviving person with Down’s Syndrome in the UK and Ireland.

George McCullough, resident of the Marina Care Home who at 77 years old is the oldest surviving person with Down’s Syndrome in the UK and Ireland tries on the Deputy Chair’s chain for size as he helps to open the new all-inclusive play facilities at Ballyronan Marina.

Council Chair, Councillor Paul McLean, welcomed the opening of the new play area, extended car park and refurbished community building, saying,

“Our investment in this project, combined with Rural Development Funding gratefully received from DAERA, and the hard work over the past months by the project contractors, E Quinn Civils, has made a critical contribution to develop a key tourism site within the Mid Ulster district, which will help attract domestic, and eventually, out of state visitors. At the same time, we are ensuring that the visitor experience is enhanced for our local population, both here in Ballyronan and throughout its surrounding areas. This is especially welcome now that the school summer holidays have started!”

Mid Ulster District Council Deputy Chair, Councillor Christine McFlynn, helping to open the new facilities at the Marina also welcomed the difference they would make, saying:

“The improvements that have been brought about by the substantial investment in this site include development of the existing play area to include all-inclusive play equipment helping to provide a sensory rich, positive and engaging experience for all children, and the addition of a Changing Places facility which will make this an integrated, engaging and accessible place for local families to visit this summer and for many years to come.”

  • Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean has great fun trying out the inbuilt trampolines in the new play area at Ballyronan Marina.
  • Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean, and Deputy Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Christine McFlynn, try out some of the new equipment at the refurbished all inclusive play area at Ballyronan Marina.

Improvements to the buildings on site will mean the Marina will be the third outdoor recreation facility in Mid Ulster to have a Changing Places facility, joining Knockmany Forest and OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory.

Later in the summer, four luxury on-water glamping pods will be in place complementing the new viewing platform which has been constructed on the breakwater to provide never before seen views of Lough Neagh.

The pods will be the only one of their kind here, offering a unique accommodation experience that will be incomparable to any currently available. The pods will be complimented by augmented reality interpretation panels that will bring the mythology of Lough Neagh to life.

The total project has been made possible by investment of £690K by the Council, and through part-funding under the Rural Tourism Scheme of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014 -2020, and Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the European Union.

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