‘Development will be good for Banbridge’

The Newry Road/Rugby Avenue junction. Pic by Google
The Newry Road/Rugby Avenue junction. Pic by Google

Two local UUP councillors have welcomed changes made to a proposed new housing development close to Banbridge Rugby Club’s Rifle Park ground, saying the revised project “will be good for Banbridge”.

Plans for the new ‘Edenbrook’ residential development on land between Edenvale and Rugby Avenue, off Newry Road had sparked concerns among some existing residents of the area about the density of the development and road safety issues.

However, following a briefing by strategic planners, Alderman Ian Burns and Alderman Liz Ingram issued a joint statement saying it’s clear that the developers behind the multi-million pound project have listened to the concerns of local residents.

“It is clear that the developers and planners have taken time to listen to the concerns of residents and have changed the plans to meet those concerns,” the statement said.

“Where the entrance to the development was facing residential buildings it has now been moved further along the Newry Road to rescue the impact of vehicles turning, added to this it will create a new road layout to help with turning traffic.

“Concerns that Rugby Avenue will be used as an access point have also been addressed and the road will no longer be in the plan to access the development; the same can be said for the flats which have now been moved to the centre of the Edenbrook development, ensuring greater stand-off between the houses to be built and those along Edenvale Avenue.

“Finally, taking into account the density of the initial proposal, which was for 235 new homes, the developers and planners have now reduced that number to 211, all within walking distance of the town centre thus creating extra footfall.”

The two councillors concluded: “It is fair to say that the planners and developers have listened to the concerns of those who live in the area and have liaised with the rugby club that is in the heart of the community in that area.

“There may well be other objections and these must be listened to and valid action taken to address them. However, overall we feel positive the developers will look at and address any issues that may arise and this development will be good for Banbridge.”

John Dobson, who was one of many local residents who voiced concerns about the original plans for the site, received correspondence from planners on Friday morning informing him of the changes to the scheme.

While welcoming the proposed amendments, particularly the decision to move the entrance to the development further along Newry Road, Mr Dobson said some other safety concerns still need to be given further consideration.

“I am pleased that they have mitigated some of the obvious hazards, but am concerned that not all the hazards have been addressed. But hopefully with pragmatism and discussion we can get a scheme that works for everybody,” he said.

Mr Dobson added: “I think it is premature for councillors, as public representatives, to express too much joy about this before residents have had the chance to fully consider the revised plans.”