Call made for council to contact ‘relief road’ developers

Plans for a Ballyclare relief road have been on hold since developer Holm NI went out of business.
Plans for a Ballyclare relief road have been on hold since developer Holm NI went out of business.

Elected members have called on the council to write to the developers of a major project in Ballyclare in the hope of arranging funding for a planned economic appraisal, despite events at Stormont.

The decision to write to the Neptune Group was made by members of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee as they discussed the much sought relief road in Ballyclare.

The meeting, which was held within an hour of the Assembly election on March 2 being announced, was set to discuss arranging funding for an economic appraisal and an anticipated stimulus package from the NI Executive.

However, with the current situation at Stormont, it is unclear as to when this package will be received.

The local authority had written to the outgoing Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Miller, on December 5 2016 to provide information on the Ballyclare relief road and a number of other key projects. This letter followed a visit by Mr Ó Miller to Mossley Mill on December 1 2016.

Ahead of the collapse of the Assembly, the item for discussion stated: “In order to progress the relief road, it is proposed that the council now writes to the developer (the Neptune Group) referencing the anticipated stimulus package to be created by the NI Executive and proposing that the required economic appraisal be progressed on a 50/50 funding basis with the council. The anticipated cost of the appraisal is circa £15,000 and appropriate Terms of Reference will now be developed.”

Calling on the council to write to the Neptune Group, Cllr Tim Girvan said: “I welcome the positive feedback from the Finance Minister (Máirtín Ó Miller) and would ask the council to write to the developer as soon as it is possible.”

Seconding this proposal, Cllr Vera McWilliam said arranging the appraisal and having everything in place was the best option available due to the present circumstances.