SAUL ROAD – PLANNERS MUST GET IT RIGHT
Sir, (NOTE use reference R/2013/0544f to object when writing to Planning Office in Rathkelter House, Market St. DPK)
The huge new housing development proposed for the Saul Road in Downpatrick, is going to be the litmus test of the sincerity and professionalism of the Roads Service and Planning Service in Down District.
For years the Roads Service has been saying that any ring-road around Downpatrick must be ‘developer-led’. I.E. Paid for by developers of the land in question. This development parallels the route of the ‘Eastern Distributor Road’ shown in the development plan, and therefore must be built off that road, and not the Saul Road.
Planners put this ring road in the ‘Area Plan’ for Downpatrick. It links the Hospital to the Belfast Road by crossing the Ballyhornan, Saul and Strangford roads in a wide arc. It would dramatically reduce congestion in Downpatrick, and allow the Southern side of the town to be developed in line with the expansion envisaged in the Area Plan. The new upgraded Sewerage plant was constructed to accommodate up to 20,000 people with this in mind.
We were told that without this link road, development would be restricted on that side of the town.
But instead of following the Area Plan, this development proposes to discharge onto the already congested Saul Road, orientated to overlook and dominate Ardenlee. This development should be orientated away from Ardenlee and built along the new link road. When the new hospital was built, they were forced to deliver the bit of the ring-road off the Ardglass Road roundabout . This development must be one of the next links in the chain. Developers need to understand that this vision for Downpatrick serves their interests too.
The Roads Service and the Planning Service now have a chance to deliver what they have been talking about for years. If they fail, politicians must intervene. They should note that after the May elections Councillors will have the power to set planning policy, and will be able to insist that the Area Plan is delivered for the benefit of the whole town.
If planners fail Downpatrick on this one, we will be left with congestion, an inability to deliver potential growth and jobs locally and with the Hospital ‘marooned’ on the wrong side of town giving the bureaucrats up at the Ulster Hospital a further excuse to cut our local services.
Cllr Cadogan Enright