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Hopes high for Clarecastle playground

THE children of Clarecastle could soon have their very own playground if plans by the Clarecastle Community Development Company get the go-ahead.

The development company has lodged a planning application with Clare County Council for the development of a children’s playground at Clare Commons, at the rear of Power’s car park.

They are hopeful the plans will be given the green light by the local authority, giving the village’s youngsters a safe place to play.

Donal Carey, of Clarecastle Community Development Company Ltd said, “There is around 400 pupils in the primary school here so there is a massive demand for a playground. As part of our consultation with the community of Clarecastle of what they would like to see developed here, we did a survey in the school among all the children. We asked them what they would like to see from the newly formed Clarecastle Community Development Company, what they would like to see in the village and there was massive support for the building of a playground. There were other initiatives but primary on their dream list was the playground.”

A consultation process was set in motion looking at ways to make the children’s dreams come true. During that process, five sites were identified as possible locations for the playground.

“The selection of the site was made on the basis of a number of factors. Firstly, we looked at child protection and how visible the site was. Then there was availability and, of course, we consulted with the locality for their input on what would be the best site for the playground. After this, we decided that the area at the back of Power’s car park was the most suitable,” he said.

He explained the reasons behind the decision. “It is a very visible site and it is within walking distance of most residential areas in the village. Also, there is car parking and that site has a traditional history of hosting a circus and carnivals every year. The site is synonymous with children’s activities.”

If granted planning permission, the development company plan to submit a funding application to LEADER. In addition, they are hoping to forward the project through funding from Clare County Council and from the local community.

“Over the next number of months we will be commencing fundraising activities. We had the regatta recently, which was a great success and some of the funds raised from that will go towards the playground. Some funds have been raised from the monster bingo. I would like to thank everybody for supporting these events and I am hopeful they will be just as generous when we have more events coming up,” he said.

Mr Carey emphasised the importance of the amenity to the village. “This would be of fantastic benefit for the village, it is something that has been sought for a long time. Money was made available by Clare County Council previously for a playground but due to the constraints of finding a location, it did not happen. I would like to acknowledge the people in the vicinity of Power’s car park for their support in this endeavour.”

The playground plans have been designed by Ray O’Leary and a decision on the planning application is due to be made in September.

“Before the children went on their holidays, we put the plans for the playground up in the school, that was part of our consultation with them. After seeing the plans before they went on holidays, hopefully when they come back there will be some progress on the initiative,” he said.

Mr Carey concluded, “We hope this playground in the middle of the village, if granted permission, will give a lift to the centre of the community and bring new life into the place. This is a good project for the newly formed Clarecastle Community Development Company to start with, for the future development of the village.”

Clarecastle Community Development Ltd (CCDL) came together last year in a bid to improve and develop the village.

The development company has concluded a lengthy consultation process with the people and organisations of Clarecastle through which it aimed to establish the community’s future vision for the village. Using the feedback it received, Clarecastle Community Development Ltd plans to put together a development plan for the next few years but in the meantime, six projects were identified as being of significant importance to the community.

An appeal has been made for people in the community to become involved in project teams to help realise the projects.

As well as the playground, other plans include the development of a community hub/centre, which would be a focal point for the village, with new and improved facilities for all.

Other projects include drawing up a register of local businesses, the development of a farmers’ market, setting up a community garden and developing a river walkway.


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