A8 meeting ‘positive, but there’s still a lot of hurt’, says Girvan

South Antrim MLAs Paul Girvan and Danny Kinahan have welcomed moves by the Roads Service and Land & Property Services (L&PS) to address valuation issues affected property owners on the new route of the A8 dual carriageway have raised.

Agents of the land owners met with officials from the government departments with the two Assembly members last week.

Concerns have been raised about the amount of money being offered to property owners who are set to lose large portions of their land to make way for the new dual carriageway.

MLA Paul Girvan described the meeting as “positive” but said there was still “a lot of hurt” surrounding the road plan.

The DUP representative said: “There are real concerns about the variations of land valuations in the area and people want to ensure they are treated fairly.

“The meeting was a full and frank exchange of views. While not all issues were addressed, it was positive, however there is a lot of hurt out there.

“We are on the path to reaching a resolution. But it has to be remembered that people are losing their land and their livelihoods for this new road and we need to work to ensure their property is not devalued.

“It is now up to the agents representing the property owners, Land and Property Services and the Roads Service to work together to come to an understanding.”

Danny Kinahan added: “Every effort will be made to ensure claims are paid out at the earliest possible stage. People had thought that money paid out was the end of the process, but it was just a way to get the funding out at an early stage - they are not in anyway the conclusion of the process.

“I believe we have a will from all concerned to resolve issues as quickly as possible. It is inevitable that a certain amount of brinkmanship will exist as agents and valuers are loathe to finalise issues at this early stage.

“The Roads Service will try and work through outstanding issues as quickly as possible, and agents and L&PS will, where possible, assess an initial level of advance on those claims put forward to them in order to give out these advance payments.

“There are still many outstanding issues and it is inevitable at this stage that there will be a backlog. But L&PS cannot pay anything out until they have claims to assess.

“To date very few had been put in as therefore few claims had been resolved.

“After these meetings there should be a significant speeding up of the process and I am very grateful to all those who took part.”