As those of you who use Gallagher Park frequently will know, the children’s play area has been in a poor state of repair for several years now. The Friends of Gallagher Park have been tirelessly campaigning for better facilities in the park that can be utilised by families who visit the park with their children.
Recently, I met with the Director of Local Services from NCC together with the Portfolio holder for the Environment and Local Services to discuss improvements in the park. They both agreed that the play facilities left a lot to be desired and, as a result of that meeting, NCC have agreed to invest in improvements in the park. They started off with a budget of £65,000 but, with contributions from myself, Councillors Russ Wallace and Jeff Gobin, West Bedlington Town Council and The Friends of Gallagher Park, that total has now increased to around the £80,000 mark.
Disappointingly, at their meeting last night, Tuesday 2 April, East Bedlington Parish Council declined to contribute to the project, citing a lack of information as the reason. The decision was not unexpected as I have been informed by the previous East Bedlington Parish Council Chair that, as Gallagher Park was owned by NCC, they would not contribute to the upkeep or modernisation of the park. Given that the park lies mainly within their parish boundary and hosts their music event I felt, and still feel, this to be a very negative view to take.
However, on a positive note, I think we will be able to get a very good play area in the park; NCC have it out for tender now and hope to have it completed by the time the schools have their summer break.
With a bit of luck, and with the support of NCC, the County Councillors, West Bedlington Town Council and the Friends of Gallagher Park, the children’s play area will be finished by the summer and the families attending Gallagher Park Live will have a chance to enjoy the facilities, unaware that this was without the support of the Parish Council.