Fantastic news, later within this year the council will open the new Hamilton Road Community centre in Hamilton Road. That much needed facility will replace Hamilton House and includes two main halls and three meeting rooms for use for local community activities.
Unfortunately it's not all good news since the centre has cost almost double the original estimated price and it was delayed for more than a year, since the council decided to amend the intends to incorporate a shooting range in the basement.
The brand new Hamilton Road community centre was originally approved by North Down Council in April 2012 for 1.23 million. However, in 2013, the council chose to add some gun club and also this decision was unanimously endorsed through the new Ards and North Down council at its meeting in January 2015.
The updated cost is 2.22 million, meaning that adding the gun club, and also the delay, has cost the ratepayers of North Down 1 million. The increased expense is particularly high since the basement required special reinforcement with concrete and steel walls.
Up against the Gun Club on the Hamilton Road Community Centre
Discussing the brand new facility, veteran Independent councilor Brian Wilson argued how the inclusion of the gun range at the Hamilton Road Community Centre was an appalling waste of tax payers money. He continued I opposed incorporating the gun club and that i was surprised and disappointed i didn't have any support from any political party or Independent councillor on North Down council. This insufficient concern was highlighted again if the addition of the number was rubber stamped by all the individuals the newest Ards & North Down Council.
�This decision is probably the worst within my many years on North Down council and highlights the weakness of town accountability. The selections were made in committee with the press and public excluded. Councillors got any mistakes as well as the decision was pushed finished inadequate discussion on the party whip.
�In rubber stamping your decision the brand new council ignored the 2 petitions signed by more than a thousand North Down residents along with a report from the town auditor criticising the economic appraisal and highlighting a failure to follow good practice. There was no transparency or accountability because the public were kept totally unacquainted with the councils decision
�I feel that this decision reflects very badly around the credibility with the new council and its priorities at this time of massive cuts in public areas services
Similar points were highlighted in comments produced by residents signing the Bangor residents from the Gun Club petition. Concern was also expressed for the councils priority, specifically spending a lot on the minority gun club, while reducing youth along with other community services. Others argued which it must not experienced exactly the same building as a play group which will even be hosted on the Hamilton Road Community Centre.