Boy racers may force closure of beauty spot

Joe Nelson at Bartins Bay amenity which is being destroyed by vandals
Joe Nelson at Bartins Bay amenity which is being destroyed by vandals

A beauty spot, which the local council has spent £80,000 refurbishing, may have to close because of threatening and anti-social behaviour.

Bartins Bay amenity has been plagued with boy racers doing donuts, drinking, drugs and anti-social behaviour since it opened just a year ago.

Last year, weeks after thousands was spent refurbishing a play park and expanding the lay-by which is on the shores of Lough Neagh, it had to be closed for resurfacing such was the damage done by cars to the amenity.

And now, after a summer of hell for locals, SDLP Cllr Joe Nelson said Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council may be forced to close it, at considerable cost.

Cllr Nelson said the Bartins Bay amenity, which is not far from Aghagallon, has been a ‘mecca for boy racers’ organising meets via social media.

He said that in July one incident led to a man being arrested and a car confiscated.

He revealed that another man lay drunk on a bench for four hours after the incident.

“Word is going out on social media that this is a good place to do donuts,” said Cllr Nelson.

However, after a series of threats to local residents and serious damage to the surface of the amenity, Council may be forced to close it down.

Cllr Nelson said the council was loathe to shut it and have decided to install security measures such as ramps, new signage and a CCTV system to try and thwart the thugs who frequent the beauty spot.

If this doesn’t work and council are forced to close it completely, it could mean a huge financial cost to the ratepayer as the council may be required to hand back a substantial part of the £80k from the Rural Development Programme.