Ballyclare and District Policing and Community Forum has called for the town’s long-awaited relief road project to be progressed.
Forum members made the call during a meeting with Roads Minister Danny Kennedy on Thursday, May 21.
Also in attendance at the meeting were South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan and MLA Paul Girvan.
“The Minister listened attentively to all of the views expressed by everyone and agreed that there must be a solution sought to bring this issue to a final conclusion,” said Forum chairperson Valerie Jenkins. “The Minister has asked DRD officials to further explore all options suggested by the group during the meeting.
“Mr Kinahan and Mr Girvan agreed to do some more preparatory work in order to bring all agencies and bodies together for a further meeting with the Minister.”
She added: “We thank Minister Kennedy and his officials for allowing us to present our case and look forward to a resolution in the near future.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Kinahan praised Ballyclare and District Policing and Community Forum for its efforts in trying to ensure the stalled multi-million pound relief road project is finally progressed.
“It was great to welcome the Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy to Ballyclare and to hear the people of the town raise the issue of the relief road. It is a much needed development that would greatly improve the traffic situation at peak times,” the UUP man said.
“I must praise the work being done by the community, particularly through channels like the Ballyclare and District Policing and Community Forum. When a major project is being pursued a town needs a coordinated, organised approach and the Forum is a fantastic example of this.”
Mr Kinahan added: “Although infrastructural development is the preserve of Stormont I am keen to do all that I can to push for this development. The relief road was originally to be developed in partnership with private residential developments along the route. Given the financial crisis most of this land was repossessed by a national bank. In London I have the ability to push for a resolution to this, a resolution that brings this much needed road closer.”
It’s understood the planned link road from Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road and Rashee Road could cost in excess of £20million to construct.
Meanwhile, South Antrim TUV representative Richard Cairns has said that he too will do what he can to keep pushing for construction of the Ballyclare relief road.
Following a recent meeting with OakleeTrinity housing association about their plan to build more than 40 apartments on the former Woodsides site at The Square, Mr Cairns welcomed the provision of “good quality living space” for older people, but recognised the concerns of existing residents in terms of adding to the traffic congestion problem in the town centre.
“I took the opportunity to push them (OakleeTrinity) on areas of concern raised by local residents such as impact on traffic on an already congested road, and that of retail space in the town centre,” he explained.
“While I have grave concerns about traffic congestion in general in Ballyclare and will continue to push for a relief road, I believe this will be a test for the new council planning powers.”