Councillor Cadogan Enright welcomed the start of the bus-service to the New Down Hospital as the start of a sustainable transport system that could enhance employment in Down District in the new ‘Public Sector Employment Campus’ as well as enable people from different parts of the district and NI as a whole to use the new hospital.
Cadogan said “This is a step in the right direction, and I am pleased that our campaign is beginning to succeed. It is not the promised shuttle-service that we expected when the new £64 M Down Hospital opened its doors last year. However the new “Public Sector Employment Campus” at the Downshire site next to the new hospital must have good transport to make it work. We can use this development to get a shuttle-bus to the hospital. It is planned that the Fire Service, PSNI, Ambulance Service as well as the council itself will be located together on the Downshire site, and that we should be able to attract decentralisation of other public sector jobs to this site too.”
“It is vital that the new Jobs Campus has good bus links for a number of reasons. Firstly the proposed Southern Ring Road is years away and we need to avoid congestion going though Downpatrick. Secondly we need to open up employment to everyone, not just car owners and we have to facilitate people travelling in from different areas to the Bus Station. Additionally If the new hospital is to service other parts of Northern Ireland as planned, we need to get the a shuttle service in place so that anyone arriving in Downpatrick Bus Station could be sure that they can easily use public transport to access the hospital.” Said Cadogan Enright
Cllr Enright said, “There is a lack of joined-up thinking in the public sector. It is extraordinary that the entrance to the hospital has been built in such a manner as to make it impossible for a normal sized bus to pull drive into the hospital and drop off or collect passengers. Only the Downpatrick Town Bus is small enough to get into the hospital. It would have been so easy to have got this right in the first place”. PHOTO SHOWS ENTRANCE TO HOSPITAL WHERE ROAD IS NARROWED FOR A SHORT DISTANCE TO PREVENT BUSES FROM ENTERING.
Dick Shannon of the Down Community Health Committee said “I support Cadogan’s campaign to get a shuttle bus into the hospital and to fix the entrance to the new Hospital so that any bus can get access. Living as I do in Ardglass, it makes no sense to me that the Ardglass bus cannot enter the Hospital Grounds on its way to and from the bus station. The Town Service will provide no more than 8 buses a day to the door of the hospital, and no service after 6pm.”
“We are continuing to campaign with the Trust to facilitate Translink in having a 15-minute shuttle service similar to that in the Royal in Belfast and we are aware that the new ‘Public Sector Campus’ could potentially share the this service which would make it a more attractive site for decentralising public sector employment to this area.” Concluded Councillor Cadogan Enright.
WORDING OF CADOGAN’s NOTICE OF MOTION TO COUNCIL ON THIS ISSUE
“This council welcomes the start of the bus-service to the New Down Hospital as the beginning of a sustainable transport system that could enhance employment in Down District in the new ‘Public Sector Employment Campus’ as well as enable people from different parts of the district and NI as a whole to use the new hospital.
The council authorises Management to renew negotiations with the Trust and with Translink to get a 15-minute shuttle-bus to the hospital and the Downshire site where it is planned that the Fire Service, PSNI, Ambulance Service as well as the council itself will be located together as the kernel of the new campus. This will assist the attraction of decentralised public sector jobs to the Downshire and enable a sustainable transport approach and help avoid congestion though the town. Council management will also request the trust to remove the 16 meters of curb pushed into the entrance of the road at the hospital that prevents a normal sized bus servicing the new hospital.”
To read more on the campaign to save the Downe and local Health Services Click Here!