Councils clash over Greenway scheme

A dispute has developed between councillors on two local authorities regarding the creation of a walking and cycling route on a disused railway line in Co Antrim.

Cllr Lindsay Millar.
Cllr Lindsay Millar.

Elected members at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council backed a proposal on January 29, saying they, “cannot support any proposal to locate the section of the greenway between Greenisland and Monkstown”.

The motion, which was proposed by Ald Tom Campbell and seconded by Cllr Stephen Ross, stated: “In view of the extent of housing development in Newtownabbey along the line of the proposed Greenisland to Monkstown Greenway Scheme and the potential loss of amenity and privacy, together with the likely detrimental impact of anti-social behaviour on the local communities living along the proposed greenway, this council resolves that it cannot support any proposal to locate the section of the greenway between Greenisland and Monkstown and that Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and other interested parties be advised accordingly.”

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The motion received cross-party support and members voted in favour of the proposal.

Ald Tom Campbell.

Following the meeting, Ald Campbell took to social media to welcome the move. The Alliance representative said he was “delighted that the council has unanimously supported my motion to discontinue council interest in or support for” the project.

Members of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council are set to vote on a proposal at their monthly meeting on February 5, which calls for the local authority to support the proposed greenway project.

The motion, which has been brought by Cllr Andrew Wilson (UUP, Knockagh) and seconded by his party colleague, Cllr Lindsay Millar, states: “That this council reaffirms its support for the proposed Greenisland to Monkstown Greenway, as outlined in the Greenisland Masterplan.”

Speaking to the Times ahead of the meeting, Cllr Millar said: “In 2015, the former Carrickfergus Borough Council and Department for Social Development produced the Greenisland Development Framework which identified projects aiming to ensure the economic and social viability of the settlement of Greenisland for generations to come.

Ald Tom Campbell.

“One of the key aspects of this Framework was the potential of creating a Greenisland to Monkstown Greenway, using the disused railway line.

“There are numerous health and economic benefits to greenways, and with secured funding of around £1.3million, this proposed greenway could inject a much-needed investment into the Greenisland area. We are hoping for a high response to the consultation on the proposed greenway to ensure that everyone in the area has their views and opinions heard and respected.”

Commenting on the Mid and East Antrim proposal, a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “The council’s position on this matter has not changed.”

The Times understands Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will be holding a public information session on the proposed Greenisland Greenway on Tuesday, February 6 at Greenisland Football Club. The event will run from 5pm until 8pm.