I condemn tonight’s decision by North Down Council sell Bangor Leisure Centre site to private developer ignoring proposals from SEELB to develop site for new Bangor Central Integrated Primary School.
The 300 parents teachers and children who lobbied North Down council this evening received a kick in the teeth when the DUP controlled council (including 3 DUP MLAs) rejected a proposal to continue negotiations with the SEELB on the provision of a new Primary School and agreed to sell the site to a private developer. Bangor Central Integrated Primary School is a wonderful school and is always oversubscribed but requires new buildings. In their Assembly manifesto just months ago the DUP promised their support for a new school.
At tonight’s meeting Cllr Michael Bower proposed that the decision be deferred for a month to allow negotiations to take place between council officers the SEELB and Bangor Central Integrated Primary School. This was rejected by 15 votes to 9. I supported Cllr Bower’s proposal which was backed by the 6 Alliance Party members, the Green Party councillor and an Independent. The DUP voted unanimously to support the sale. This is perhaps not surprising given that DUP had been involved prior negotiations with the developer.
I am extremely disappointed that the Council ignored the 600 signed petition and refused to defer the decision for a month to allow further negotiations with Bangor Central Integrated Primary School. The fact that the DUP promised to support a new school just a few months ago and are now proposing that the site be sold to a private developer undermines the integrity of politicians and reinforces the public perception that all politicians cannot be trusted.
The DUP argue that the sale will keep down the rates. This is rubbish as any payment to the council will not be made until the developer has obtained full planning permission. It is unlikely that this will affect the rates before the 2013/14 financial year. Therefore to defer the decision for one month would have no effect on the rates.