South Antrim MLA David Ford has said he’s “hopeful” that the long-awaited Ballyclare relief road project could be partly funded by the Department for Regional Development.
With increasing traffic congestion in and around the town centre restricting regeneration and growth, local business owners, residents and political representatives have been campaigning for the department to step in and fund at least part of the stalled scheme, which was shelved after developer Holm NI hit financial trouble and ceased trading early last year.
Having written to DRD Minister Danny Kennedy last month in support of the campaign, the Alliance Party leader said the response he received this week makes him “hopeful” that government funding could be made available for part of the road, which could eventually link Templepatrick Road, Doagh Road and Rashee Road.
“My position has always been that the relief road should be partly funded by DRD so that the people of Ballyclare have some sense of ownership,” Mr Ford said.
“The Minister has responded to my letter this week and has reiterated his belief that it is the responsibility of developers to secure the funding for this project.
“Whilst I disagree with him on that point, I am hopeful as he has indicated that his officials are in talks with their counterparts in the DOE to discuss what options are available for this scheme.”
Meanwhile, Ballyclare and District Policing and Community Forum members are due to meet with local politicians next week to discuss the relief road issue.