Residents considering legal bid to halt park and ride scheme

The narrow strip of land at Ballyhenry Road where Roads Service is planning to develop a park and ride facility.
The narrow strip of land at Ballyhenry Road where Roads Service is planning to develop a park and ride facility.

A GROUP of Glengormley residents are considering taking legal action in a last-ditch bid to halt a controversial park and ride scheme near Sandyknowes.

Householders in Dorchester and Ballyhenry have reacted angrily to the announcement by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy that work on the heavily criticised Roads Service project is due to get under way before Christmas.

For 10 years people living near the proposed park and ride site - a narrow strip of land at Ballyhenry Road, just yards from the borough’s busiest junction - and local political representatives have voiced their opposition to the plan.

However, despite more than 900 objections, Mr Kennedy this week announced that £250,000 has been made available for the project, which could now be complete by April next year.

It’s understood that contractors are due to move onto the site in the next couple of weeks to build a boundary wall, while the 90-space car park itself will be constructed early in the New Year.

The Minister’s announcement came as a shock to many residents, coming just weeks after Glengormley councillor John Blair - a long-term opponent of the scheme - suggested that Roads Service may not have the funds to progress the project.

A statement issued on behalf of ‘Dorchester and Ballyhenry residents’ hit out at the Minister’s decision to fund the project, saying it was being pushed through against their wishes. And they have urged Mr Kennedy and Planning Minister Alex Attwood to rethink the proposed scheme, branding it a waste of public money.

“The whole thing is procedurally and morally wrong - the residents have been treated with total disrespect by this shock announcement. We know there are parking pressures in the area but this waste of public money will not help - it will make it worse,” the statement read.

Urging local people to contact their political representatives and voice their opposition to the project, a spokesman for the residents added: “It is not too late for sense to prevail and the scheme to be abandoned and the money put to good use elsewhere.

“We intend to lodge a complaint with Planning Service and then take it to the Assembly Ombudsman. We are also considering a legal challenge.”