Fears Pipe Band Championships may move from Portrush

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WORRIES that the annual Pipe Band Championships could move away from Portrush because of lack of campervan parking, has prompted Coleraine Borough Council to request an urgent meeting with Road Service and the Championship organisers.

The Mayor, DUP councillor Sam Cole raised the issue under ‘any other business’ at last Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

Councillor Cole said he had been told that organisers were moving the contest away from their usual Lansdowne home due to the restrictions on campervans.

Kieran Doherty, Director of Environmental Health, told the meeting that the barrier at Lansdowne was a “reoccurring issue”, but added that the car park was managed by DRD.

Mr Doherty went on: “There is a range of events, not just the pipe bands when this car park is heavily used by campervans including the air show and the NW200.”

Independent councillor David McClarty supported the Mayor’s comments. He said: “The Pipe band Championship bring a lot of money into Portrush.

“There is a huge fraternity of motor home owners that spend money in our shops and restaurants, we need to use our influence with DRD.

“There is a perception that motor homes are not welcome, we need to turn this around.”

DUP councillor Adrian McQuillan said that an “urgent meeting” was needed.

“These are major events for Portrush, the DRD have made a real mess of the car park,” said the DUP councillor.

DUP councillor George Duddy agreed with the previous speakers and added: “ It would be remiss of us if we didn’t push to get better facilities.”

As the debate continued, meeting Chairman Mark Fielding asked for an update on an ‘air de service’ which councillors had agreed to proceed with at the car park behind Portrush Fire Station.

Richard Baker, Corporate Director of Leisure Services told the meeting that plans for 21 spaces had been cut to just ten by designers. He explained: “Designers say that the area could only accommodate ten spaces, it is a work in progress at present,” he said.

An update on this will be brought back to Council.

Members agreed to meet with pipe band organisers and DSD to see if a solution could be found.