Calls for beach improvements in Newcastle
THERE have been calls for a reinstatement of a portion of Newcastle beach with the amount of sand at one of Northern Ireland's premier tourist attractions continuing to decline.
Newry, Mourne and Down district council has been criticised for its lack of action in addressing the appearance of Newcastle beach, with the lack of sand among the issues.
Sinn Féin councillor Willie Clarke said residents want to see improvements, including making a beach area for "families to enjoy the seaside experience".
He has called for a stretch of recreational beach to be created off the promenade, with sand replacing the large amount of stones.
"People who come to Newcastle are often looking for a stretch of real beach," he said.
"A major amount of money has been spent on the promenade in Newcastle over recent years and to have a beach like this brings the area down.
"I have been inundated by residents and members of the public wanting to see improvements to be carried out.
"I have been lobbying for a good number of years for a recreational beach and a quality beach visitor experience at Newcastle, even if we had an area of 50-75 metres square that was well maintained and raked on a regular basis so children can make sandcastles."
Mr Clarke added that the "impetus is on the council to try and do something about Newcastle beach".
"The council need to maintain a stretch of recreational beach, close to the promenade, this would require some levelling, the removal of debris, which will allow families to enjoy the seaside experience," he said.
"The access to this area requires clearing also, to assist the public to get on to the beach.
"Despite all the wonderful work that has been done to improve Newcastle’s promenade and streetscape, our town's reputation is being badly tarnished by the failure to improve the standard of its seafront."
Mr Clarke said he will raise the matter at a council committee meeting next week.
A spokeswoman for Newry Mourne and Down Council said it will "consider the matter of Newcastle beach at the Enterprise Regeneration and Tourism committee on Monday 13 June. We are not be able to make any further comment at this time."