Ballyclare work gets under way

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Initial preparatory works got under way this week on a £437,000 public realm improvement scheme in Ballyclare.

The work, which is expected to last for approximately four months, will upgrade existing pavements and street lighting in the Lower Main Street, Ballynure Road and Mill Road areas.

New street furniture will also be installed and utility cables will be put underground as part of the scheme.

A spokesperson from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “The contractor is setting up and taking delivery of materials this week. Marking out is due to commence today (Monday, January 25) and excavation will commence next Monday (February 1), with perhaps some trial holes excavated this week.”

The Department for Social Development (DSD) has provided funding of £300,000 for the scheme, which will be supported by an additional £137,000 from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The Social Development Minister, Maurice Morrow, MLA, has welcomed the improvements scheme. He said: “I welcome this significant investment in Ballyclare which will complement work that has already been completed around the Square and Upper Main Street. Making the town centre more attractive and appealing can only be good news for residents and visitors alike and will not only benefit traders and the local community but will also be more likely to attract new investment.”

The scheme has already received a number of negative comments from residents on social media, with many voicing concerns about possible traffic disruption in and around the town.

Victoria McAllister said: “Why could this not have started in May, where two of the months would have been during the summer holidays with less traffic?”

Tara Keys added: “Instead of spending their budget on something that needs done, they waste it on replacing pavements that are perfectly fine. I live at the bottom end of the town and there is nothing wrong with the footpaths.”

It is a total waste of tax payers money.”