Council to invest in better facilities at Tyrella beach

Council to invest in better facilities at Tyrella beach

13 March 2019

AWARD-WINNING Tyrella beach is in line for major investment to make it even better.

Just over £300,000 is to be invested in two separate projects to help improve a range of facilities at one of the province’s most popular beaches which commands spectacular views of the Mournes and Dundrum Bay.

Tyrella, which is one of a number of local beaches that continues to enjoy some of the best bathing water quality in Europe, currently holds the prestigious EU Blue Flag status.

But Newry, Mourne and Down Council has warned that the key designation which reflects the quality of the beach and its bathing water could be at risk, alongside Tyrella’s Area of Special Scientific Interest, if much-needed improvement work is not carried out.

Forty thousand pounds has been earmarked to enhance the boardwalk area between the main car park and the beach and improve parking and traffic measures, alongside improved pedestrian access and aesthetic improvements to the site.

At Monday’s meeting of the local authority’s Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism Committee, politicians agreed an additional £275,000 spend for other significant improvement work.

Council officials say a lack of parking spaces forces visitors to park along the main road at busy times which creates problems for passing traffic.

Describing current parking as “inadequate”, council officials have also highlighted a lack of dedicated disabled parking provision which they need to address. There is also concern about the surface of the existing car park which is particularly uneven and the absence of adequate parking for visitors with young families.

The access from the car park to the beach for families pushing prams is described as “unsuitable” with the financial spend approved at Monday’s meeting designed to improve the overall visitor experience, create a better first impression, improve the car park surface and the number of available spaces. 

New directional signs are also proposed, with council officials warning failure to address the issues could result in the loss of blue flag status, result in a negative visitor experience, reduced visitor numbers and income.

To progress the improvement work, council officials have agreed to appoint a contractor to design a scheme.

The planned investment has been welcomed by Downpatrick area councillor Dermot Curran.

He said he was pleased local authority officials have recognise the need to improve Tyrella to ensure it continues to attract a high number of visitors, particularly from April and September.

“Tyrella is an extremely popular beach,” he said. “It is highly regarded as one of Northern Ireland’s top beaches and it is vital it retains its blue flag status. We rely heavily upon tourism in our area and we need to ensure our beaches are up to standard.”

Cllr Curran says he has no doubt that investing in Tyrella is not only “good news for the district and visitors to the area, but will produce an economic dividend through increased use.”

He continued: “We are fortunate to have stunning beaches like Tyrella, Kilclief and Ballyhornan on our doorstep. Those who work to keep our bathing waters clean and, more importantly, up to an internationally recognised standard so they are safe to use, do a terrific job.”

Cllr Curran said picturesque beaches helped make up the “unique fabric of Lecale and the surrounding area” and were a vital tourism resource.

He added: “The planned investment at Tyrella is a good news story and I am pleased that the local authority is not content to sit back on its laurels but recognises the importance of continuing investment in a wealth of tourism assets right across the entire district.

“Down District is lucky to be blessed with such priceless resources which can make a valuable contribution to the health and well-being of our local communities and visitors alike. It is essential that we continue to strive for the very highest of standards across all our facilities.”