Concerns over dangerous junction stalls Moira park and ride plans

Two competing Co Down park and ride facilities have failed to gain approval over major concerns for road safety at a dangerous junction.
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Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s (LCCC) planning committee heard representations from Translink and a private developer ‘Mr Nigel Herdman’ regarding commuter connections to Moira train station.

Each application had made objections to each other, with Translink not agreeing pedestrian access to its lands for the private development of a 126 car parking facility.

Representatives of Mr Herdman, with a business address on the Station Road, Moira, made objections to Translink’s plans for 489 car park spaces due to traffic concerns on the Station Road and “significant risk to the environment”.

Alderman Martin Gregg has expressed safety concerns over park and ride plans for Moira. Pic credit: LCCCAlderman Martin Gregg has expressed safety concerns over park and ride plans for Moira. Pic credit: LCCC
Alderman Martin Gregg has expressed safety concerns over park and ride plans for Moira. Pic credit: LCCC

Following a lengthy debate, the Department for infrastructure (DfI) was accused by committee chairperson Alderman Martin Gregg (Alliance) of a “dereliction of duty” when it came to safe guarding a junction of the A26.

He said: “This facility is much needed for the area. Though, I do have a tremendous conflict over no plans to change the turn at the A26 junction.

“I find that it has been incredibly lacking in DfI’s responsibility for the safety of road users in the Translink application.

“I have seen DfI improve junctions before, I can’t see why they can’t do it this time.

Lisburn and Castlereagh Councillors have expressed concerns about the safety of the A26 Road junction at Moira. Pic credit: GoogleLisburn and Castlereagh Councillors have expressed concerns about the safety of the A26 Road junction at Moira. Pic credit: Google
Lisburn and Castlereagh Councillors have expressed concerns about the safety of the A26 Road junction at Moira. Pic credit: Google

“This junction will lead to issues of accidents on a 60mph road, and we have all seen what happens in head on collisions at that speed.

“I think there has been a dereliction of duty here by DfI.

“As it stands these plans simply compound road safety.”

The committee had heard from Translink that cars parking on nearby streets would be adsorbed into a the new park and ride facility.

It then expected journeys on the Station Road to increase by 5%, which was below the DfI threshold to enforce major changes to road designs.

This was supported by a DfI spokesperson in chambers who further stated a major change of the A26 junction would be at “great cost and require the purchase of third party lands”.

It was then decided by the committee on a vote of six to four, to defer the application for further information and negotiations to be entered into.

The chamber heard the second application, by the private developer, to find that it had been a “previously preferred location” by Translink in 2016 with reports carried out by the transport company.

An outline business case had also been approved by DfI at the time.

The chamber was told the private applicant’s plan was to develop the lands and “transfer to Translink”.

However, a necessary safe right of way for pedestrians between the park and ride and the Moira train station had been refused by Translink, who owns the land buffering the two zones.

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Significant concerns of road access points into the park and ride were highlighted as the applicant would need to demolish the scheduled monument of ‘Lady’s’ Bridge’. Something, which was prohibited as a protected route.

Downshire West Alliance Councillor Owen Gawith suggested deferring both the applications to be considered at the same time.

Though, Killultagh DUP Alderman, James Tinsley alluding to continued delays in the planning of Moira park and ride, stated, “Translink may not negotiate”.

The private application received nine votes for refusal and one abstaining.