‘We should be spending money on our own estate’

editorial image

A DUP councillor has said that Council needs to look at its ‘own estate’ before spending money on footpaths.

Coleraine councillor George Duddy was referring to an environmental improvement scheme in Portstewart, which will see new pavements along the Promenade.

The scheme, which aims to give a facelift to the resort, was discussed at an Environmental Services meeting earlier in August.

It will be funded, half by Council and half by DSD.

As the minutes of the August meeting were being rattified at last Tuesday night’s full meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Council, councillor Duddy asked what the scheme would bring to the resort, and if it fitted into the capital works programme.

“I think that we should be spending on our own estates rather than something that’s not ours,” said the DUP man.

Councillor Duddy spoke about Portstewart Town Hall and Portrush Town Hall, and the work required on the buildings.

Aiden McPeak, Director of Environmental Services told the meeting that works had been completed on the facade of Portstewart Town Hall to make it ‘structurallly secure’ but he said that ‘other works were required’.

“Our own estate is crumbling, yet we are going to spend three quarters of a million on footpaths.

“We have a responsibility to our estate,” blasted councillor Duddy.

Responding to councillor Duddy, Richard Baker, Corporate Director of the Leisure and Development Services Department confirmed that the £750,000 spend would have no affect on the budget.

He added that the ‘need’ for the work had been ‘calculated by DSD’.

Mr Baker went on to describe Portstewart as a ‘patchwork of materials’ and added that the improvements scheme would encourage ‘business activity’ in the area.

The meeting heard that the scheme was still subject to a letter of offer from DSD.

Chair, Mayor, councillor Knight McQuillan noted councillor Duddy’s comments.