Downpatrick Councillors have gone on the offensive with the Road Service, and backed a plan from Cllr Cadogan Enright to propose the rapid development of the ‘Southern Relief Road’ to relieve congestion around the town. The motion was seconded by Cllr John Doris and backed by all councillors present. The Southern Relief Road would link the Ardglass Road to the Ballyduggan Road via the back of the Eclipse Cinema and around the edge of Dunleath Park to exit near the Ballydugan Industrial Estate.
Independent Cllr Enright said “Council has been waiting for several years for the Roads Service to bring forward specific plans to relieve congestion around Downpatrick, in order for the Council to be able to release the budget of £200,000 earmarked when we agreed to develop the ‘Public Sector Jobs Campus’ with the S.E. Health Trust on the old Downshire site.”
“Road Service has failed to bring any proposals forward, and in the absence of their proposals we have referred back to the agreed Downpatrick Masterplan and noted that the Eastern By-pass and Southern Relief Roads were both earmarked for support to ease congestion in the town, and to facilitate the retention and growth of Jobs on the new campus and help Downpatrick achieve the critical mass envisaged by the Ards Area development plan.”
“Almost all the land required for the Southern Relief Road is already in Council hands. The land is not used for playing pitches and has a very low value. The Budget of £200,000 would therefore encompass not only the land required for the project, but also deal with many other of the incidental expenses This proposal is likely to come before the Policy and Resources Committee of Council in April with support from all parties as it requires a change to the current policy of waiting for the Roads Service to make an acceptable proposal before the funds can be drawn down.”
Cllr Enright thanked John Doris for his support on this proposal.
“A roundabout at the Ballydugan Industrial Estate to serve the Southern Relief Road would have the benefit of slowing down traffic before the ASDA intersection which is a notorious accident hot spot. Combined with the diversion of traffic away from the town, access to and from the shopping centre will become a lot easier. Ambulance access will be quicker up to the Hospital and traffic for the Public Sector Campus at the Downshire will not have to pass though the town from the Western or Clough direction. Our Roads Task Force still have to push Roads Service on plans for resolution of congestion from the Belfast Road direction, and some of the congested junctions around the town have been awaiting a proposal from Roads Service for 6 years.”
“This plan puts up to the Roads Service – we can offer resources and land to solve up to half the congestion problems in Downpatrick – Roads Service must play their part now as they have failed to do over the last 6 years” Concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright