THERE’S festive cheer in the Clogher Valley with the news that after years of lobbying and campaigning, the planning go-ahead has finally been granted and funding obtained, which will see a popular local beauty spot radically transformed.
It is hoped that work can start as soon as January to develop Knockmany Forest – four miles outside Augher – after Mid Ulster Council approved the planning application to revamp the facility at a meeting on Thursday last.
In a project totalling £265,000, the proposal includes improved recreational access, signage and paths, together with improved visitor facilities such as an extended car park and the much-needed addition of toilets and specialised disabled toilets.
It is understood the procurement process is almost complete and the aim is to complete the exciting project before next summer.
Funding has been provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and Sport NI., who have both contributed £120,000 each, while the council is also providing £25,000.
Ideally located in the heart of the Clogher Valley, the facility has proven incredibly popular for families and sport clubs alike, despite lacking various facilities at present. .
Currently, there is limited car parking space and those unfamiliar with the area have complained about a lack of signage around the large park, while there are no toilet or changing facilities. The area has also become wildly overgrown in places, and a lake - which locals say has huge potential, particularly for fishing - remains inaccessible.
But by early summer 2019 it is expected the area will have been transformed into a sporting hub – accessible for all.
Gerry McCaffrey, chairman of Eskra Community Association - one of the leading campaign groups - said: "It is a project we have been campaigning for for quite a number of years.
Full story in this week's Tyrone Constitution...