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North's first toboggan ride set for planning green light

The new toboggan run will further add to the leisure attractions at Colin Glen Forest Park, which already include a Gruffalo adventure trail
Gareth McKeown

AN INNOVATIVE new Belfast leisure attraction is set to receive the green light from city planners today.

The proposed alpine toboggan run at Colin Glen Forest Park in west Belfast is recommended for approval at this evening's meeting of Belfast City Council's planning committee.

The concept, which sees users travel on a sled down a metal track at speed, is a popular attraction at ski resorts out of season.

The scheme, being brought forward by Colin Glen Trust and supported by the council, comprises a 565m track, which consists of a 324m descent and 241m straight section. The plans also include a single storey building, along with an access road and car parking provision.

A tendering exercise for the new leisure facility, which would be the first of its kind in the north, was launched by the council in November.

A total of eight letters of objection have been received in relation to the plans, with concerns centred on the potential to the local environment, including the loss of ancient woodland.

However, in the planning report, published ahead of today's meeting "the proposal is considered acceptable and planning permission is recommended".

If, as expected the plans are approved today the development will further add to the leisure offering at the west Belfast park.

The existing facilities at the park include 200 acres of scenic woodland, grassland, waterfalls and pathways, a Gruffalo adventure trail and the Skytrek adventure centre.

The new toboggan run is part of a wider development at the west Belfast park announced last year and comes after the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) handed ownership of the complex over to Colin Glen Trust on a 999-year lease.

Speaking last September Colin O'Neill, chief executive of Colin Glen Forest Park hailed a "new era" for west Belfast and the wider community.

“Our exciting future plans represent a huge investment in the regeneration of west Belfast and will enable many more people to enjoy the park and indeed the gateway it provides to the spectacular natural environment of the Belfast hills," he said.

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