New masterplan to consider future of Oxford Island

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A new marina at Kinnego could be part of the Masterplan for Oxford Island organised by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

The masterplan, which is still at development stage, has been having consultations with various interest groups such as NI Environment Agency and tourism groups.

Leisure Services chief Gerard Houlihan said Oxford Island is a great asset to the council area but currently is a bit of a ‘hotch potch’.

He said the aim of the masterplan is to get direction on how to build on Oxford Island’s popularity.

“It is about branding it and bringing it together,” he said.

The council has been consulting with key stakeholders to help the development of the facility and services on site for all users.

While the public has not been directly ‘consulted’ there has been an online survey with questions asking them for their opinions.

Eight questions such as how often do you visit and why, as well as what improvements would you make to Oxford Island form part of the survey.

Mr Houlihan said: “The overall purpose of the Oxford Island Master Plan is to provide a strategic framework for the sustainable development and management of Oxford Island over the next ten years.”

Mr Houlihan explained that currently there is a lot going on in Oxford Island but a ‘hotch potch’.

“What we are trying to do is streamline that and give Oxford Island its own identity.

“We have the masterplan, we have spoken to councillors, we have spoken to businesses, we have spoken to staff on the site and now we are speaking to the public.”

However, Mr Houlihan said the masterplan has not yet been completed: “We haven’t produced the masterplan yet. This consultation is to see if what we are doing is going in the right direction.”

He explained that the consultation with the general public was being done as a survey with the public being asked a series of questions regarding their views of Oxford Island.

He said there is no possibility of building on Oxford Island, saying it is protected as a conservation area. He said some parts are totally protected and others are not and that was a complication.

“We are looking to know what we can develop and what people think needs developed and what we are allowed to developed.”

He pointed out that the marina could do with being ‘spruced up’ and hoped there would be exciting plans for it in the future.

For more information check out www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.citizenspace.com/health-and-recreation/oxford-island-master-plan/?fbclid=IwAR2BO2M_TJ_6uG3SPblkFtYQCbWFOLSYKUA06LzcxeGJzNkITjk06xzSLOU