Councillor calls for A1 inquiry

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News

Dromore Councillor Carol Black has sought assurances from the Roads Service that a public inquiry will be held into plans to upgrade junctions on the A1 carriageway.

Roads Service representatives recently attended a meeting of Banbridge District Council to present their annual report.

Following the presentation, Ms Black asked if there was an indication of when funding for the A1 junction scheme will be made available.

She also requested assurances that further consultation with landowners affected by the A1 junctions scheme will take place as some landowners missed the deadline.

Ms Black also asked for written assurances that a public enquiry will take place before the scheme is finalised.

Responding to Ms Black’s concerns, Roads Service Southern Divisional Manager, Simon Richardson, said: “Funding has been allocated to progress the proposal through completion of Stage 2 and to commence Stage 3 which involves carrying out the specimen design for the proposal and preparing the draft statutory procedures.

“This stage also involves undertaking detailed engineering, economic and environmental assessments and the production of an Environmental Statement.

“The scheme development team is happy to continue to receive comments on the emerging proposal and will endeavour to address any comments raised if possible.

As indicated at the public information event, a leaflet drop to all areas affected by the proposed scheme will be carried out in the coming months to confirm the preferred option.

“As part of Stage 3 of the scheme development process, draft Statutory Orders, Environmental Statement, Direction Order and Vesting Order will be prepared.

“These documents will be published and will be available for public inspection. This gives members of the public and other consultation bodies the opportunity to comment or object within a minimum 30 day period.

“If the Department receives objections to the proposal or aspects of the proposal and these objections cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to hold public inquiries into the proposed scheme.

“Whilst it is not appropriate to give an assurance that a public inquiry will be held, given the size and nature of the A1 junctions proposal, it is very unlikely an inquiry will be required.

“Meetings will also be held with directly affected parties to help understand fully how the scheme may impact upon them.

“This will help identify what mitigation measures are required to minimise the impact.”