TEMPERS flared at a recent meeting when Glengormley traders made demands of NI Water to reschedule planned maintenance work for during the night to help reduce disruption to their businesses.
On Monday (February 27) work is due to begin on replacing watermains on the lower section of Carnmoney Road from Portland Avenue to the Antrim Road.
One lane of traffic will be closed and parking will be suspended for six weeks on Portland Avenue to allow for buses to travel down the road which forms part of the diversion.
The work is scheduled to last three weeks on the Carnmoney Road and it will then move on to Portland Avenue for a further three.
At the beginning of this week, Glengormley Traders’ Association met with NI Water officials and contractors undertaking the work which forms part of a major rehabilitation of the watermains across the borough.
The traders said the disruption will hit their businesses hard - posing difficulties for customers trying to access their shops while drivers will be unable to stop to make deliveries.
Chairman of the Association, Ed Burns said: “There is no ifs buts or maybes, this work has to be done at night.
“We have fought for extra parking provision in the town and that will be removed for this work.
“For three weeks the businesses affected will lose customers and they won’t come back again.
“Glengormley is on its knees, traders are struggling with two major retailers on either side of the town. To do this work during the day on one of north Belfast’s busiest junctions is crazy and the decision has to be reconsidered or it will kill those shops in the middle. Under no circumstances can this go ahead.”
Tempers flared as the officials outlined the difficulties involved in carrying out work at night.
Traders retorted by saying they were constantly fighting to stay open and the proposed plans would “bust” them.
Secretary of Glengormley Traders’ Association Nigel Hamilton said the matter would be raised with the Roads Minister to ensure NI Water and its contractors carried out the work at night.
“This is people’s livelihoods we are talking about,” he said.
“Many people who run a business in Glengormley are doing so even though they are not paying and are having to rely on savings.
“People will not follow a diversion route to drop into a shop in the middle of the works, they will just go somewhere else.”
Glengormley Traders’ Association has vowed to continue the fight to stop the work going ahead on Monday and has asked Roads Minister Danny Kennedy to intervene.
NI Water however, have said the works will go ahead as planned.
Read more on this issue in this week’s Newtownabbey Times...