Beauty spot blight

Councillor Joe Nelson beside a burnt bin at the Lagan towpath near Aghagallon. INLM1812-124gc
Councillor Joe Nelson beside a burnt bin at the Lagan towpath near Aghagallon. INLM1812-124gc

A PRIME beauty spot has become dangerous after a sustained attack by vandals and druggies, a local councillor told the ‘MAIL’.

Hailed as a top tourism location, Lagan Canal towpath at Aghagallon is now a dumping ground.

Councillor Joe Nelson at the Crannagh Bridge on the towpath near Aghagallon where safety barriers have been thrown into the canal. INLM1812-125gc

Councillor Joe Nelson at the Crannagh Bridge on the towpath near Aghagallon where safety barriers have been thrown into the canal. INLM1812-125gc

A considerable amount of damage caused to the facilities by gangs of youths.

Local SDLP Councillor Joe Nelson hit out at the state of the towpath.

At the Cranagh Bridge it is clearly more an eyesore now with old washing machines, clothes, parking cones, a shopping trolley, wooden pallets, tins, plastic bags, and even security barriers dumped in the canal.

“While it is not a residential area, it is a popular spot for visitors to bring their children and walk dogs,” said Councillor Nelson.

He explained that months ago the original security barrier, which was used as a safety feature to stop people from careering into the water, had become unstable. Craigavon Council had erected a number of temporary but sturdy security barriers, however, these had been ripped up and thrown in the canal.

He added that vandals had also set fire to a wooden bin at Annadroughal Bridge.

“There is evidence of drinking and drug taking. There is no reason for this other than pure badness,” said Councillor Nelson.

“Flytipping is also a problem. These people have no respect for the environment,” said the SDLP councillor.

“This is a popular walk used by many people and is a walk approved by Craigavon Council in it’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ brochure. The towpath is also included in the WalkNI website and is maintained by Craigavon Council. The Council undertook some improvement work at Cranagh Bridge and removed part of the safety barrier to do so.

“This leaves the area in a dangerous state for children or adults for that matter. It has now been reported to CBC for action,” said Councillor Nelson adding that he had also contacted the PSNI.

A spokesperson for Craigavon Borough Council said: “The ornate cast iron barriers around the Crannagh Bridge on the Lagan Canal Tow Path were damaged last September. Council removed the barriers due to concerns of health and safety for the public and temporary crowd control barriers were put in place to make the area safe. These have recently been vandalised.

“A specialist contractor has been commissioned to repair the original barriers and will be meeting with Council officials this week to progress repairs to the original barriers. Council has also carried out remedial repair to the Lough wall with the Parks Section clearing the site of litter on a weekly basis. Council would ask that if anyone sees any antisocial behaviour to report this to the PSNI.”

Police said they are aware of concerns about antisocial behaviour in the Aghagallon area and have been working to tackle these issues.

Neighbourhood Inspector Ken Annett said: “We are working with the community in the area and I would encourage anyone with concerns to contact us so that we can work together to find solutions.

“We are listening to the community and are responding to their complaints, however, we need community assistance to enable us to try to resolve these issues and would encourage residents to contact us when incidents occur so that we respond as effectively and appropriately as possible.”