Residents frustrated about relief road consultation

Steve Aiken OBE MLA pictured at the consultation event on March 6.
Steve Aiken OBE MLA pictured at the consultation event on March 6.

Ballyclare residents have voiced concerns about a pre-application public event that was held regarding the development of a proposed relief road in the town.

Members of the public and elected representatives have claimed the session, which took place in Ballyclare Community Concerns on March 6, was not well publicised by the event organisers.

The event, which ran from 4pm until 8pm, focused on a reserved matters application for a residential neighbourhood including, housing, the southern section of the Ballyclare Relief Road, local centre, riverside park, children’s play area, landscaping and associated works.

Works on the proposed project would include a 3.1km relief road, a 350m long secondary link road, three roundabouts and a bridge over the Six Mile Water.

A press notice had been placed last month, advertising the event to members of the public.

Commenting via social media on the information evening at Ballyclare Community Concerns, South Antrim UUP MLA Steve Aiken OBE claimed: “Not much notice of this event and unfortunately not much awareness in the community - an event on an issue of this importance should be better publicised!”

Responding to claims from residents the event had not been well publicised, Cllr Stephen McCarthy, who attended the event with his party colleague, said: “Steve wasn’t shy about informing the consultants holding the information session that the publicity was woefully insufficient given the importance of the subject.

“He also reiterated our party position that there can be no further housing development on the north-side of the town until the road is built.

“He asked me to arrange for a second information event that we would publicise to ensure that all of our supporters, followers on social media and constituents could be there.”

Following the backlash, a new event is to take place in Ballyclare Town Hall on Wednesday, April 18 between 7pm and 9pm.

The original session was organised by planning consultants, Clyde Shanks. The Times contacted the firm for a comment, but none was forthcoming at the time of publication.