Barban Hill briars issue sprouts again

THE thorny issue of overhanging Barban Hill briars has sprouted again this year, with residents newly protesting the threat they pose to pedestrian safety.

The Leader highlighted the problem last year, when, in early August, complaints first emerged in respect of the hedge opposite the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church.

At the time, Councillor Paul Rankin reminded landowners they were responsible for facing back and topping their hedges and trees which faced onto the roads.

Following news that the Irish government’s bad bank, NAMA, had seized a score of properties in Dromore, including agricultural land at Barban Hill, they and DRD Roads Service were reportedly at odds over who owned the land on which was growing the offending hedge.

Roads Service believed NAMA controlled the land in question and was therefore responsible for cutting back the hedge, while NAMA, in response to an approach from Mr. Rankin, said it was not in a position to be of assistance as its investigation had found the property concerned did not form security as part of a NAMA loan.

Now, according to Mr. Rankin, of Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale’s office, Barban Hill residents have again been calling to complain that the briars are forcing pedestrians to step out onto the road to avoid them.

On the upside, having contacted Roads Service, Mr. Rankin said steps were being taken to have the landowners meet their responsibility to cut back the offending plants.

Said Mr. Rankin, “I have emailed the Roads Service who have came back to me and stated that they have arranged to cut the road verge at this location and will be endeavouring to contact the owners of the land above the footpath to again remind them of their responsibilities.”

On his own and Mrs. Hale’s behalf Mr. Rankin thanked Roads Service for their continued assistance with issues of local concern.

There were thanks too for the agency’s recent renewal of road markings in Dromore’s Lottery Place car-park.