South Antrim MP William McCrea has met with the Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy MLA, to discuss the stalled Ballyclare relief road plan.
The DUP man, who was accompanied at the meeting by his party colleague Paul Girvan MLA and local Alliance Councillor Pat McCudden, has called on Mr Kennedy’s department to step in and deliver the long-awaited bypass road - a link between Templepatrick Road, Doagh Road and Rashee Road - in order to ease traffic congestion in and around the town centre.
During the Stormont meeting, postponed from earlier in the month, Dr McCrea outlined the urgent case for departmental intervention.
“Under the Regional Development Strategy Ballyclare has been identified as taking on a wider role as a main town, and a significant planned expansion to accommodate housing need has been approved under the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan. It is acknowledged that Ballyclare acts as both a service centre to its rural hinterland and provides employment for those living in the Metropolitan Rural Area. One of the key BMAP strategic objectives is for the development of a modern, integrated and inclusive transport system, but the present traffic situation in Ballyclare town is chaos,” he said.
Stressing that the current state of the economy means there is little possibility of a private developer delivering the road, Dr McCrea said the DRD must step in and fund the long-awaited project.
“The need for this road is very important for the growth and economic prosperity of Ballyclare and, therefore, I demand that the Minister now urgently prioritises the delivery of this relief road as a vital project,” he continued. “Sadly millions were spent on a bypass for Ballynure that in my opinion was nothing more than a vanity project that I and many local residents objected to.
“The Minister has been left in no doubt as to what needs to be done. We have a Regional Development Strategy that he and the Executive agreed to, but little or no infrastructure to back it up. The ball is now firmly in the department’s court and I do not accept that the gridlock in and around the town should be allowed to continue unabated.
“Ballyclare must be allowed to develop and prosper, but this can only happen with the appropriate intervention from DRD.”