Friday, 12 February 2016

Carrickmore Road, Ballycastle - Public v Private Tussle - EIR Request - May 2015

I'm intrigued by the following snippet from a request to Transport NI for a copy of objections to the abandonment of a stretch of public road on the outskirts of Ballycastle:

We understand the need to resolve objections, however if as we suspect the objections are on the basis that pedestrian access through our client’s lands is somehow prevented as a result of the abandonment it seems that the resolution is simply to inform objectors of the presence of the Public Rights of Way Assertion Statement and not to invest the objectors with some sense of their right to veto the Department’s proposal by reason of your invitation to them to withdraw their objection.

Documentation shows that abandonment wasn't so much a Department proposal as a request from an individual to hand over a portion of public road. The initial request was for about 300 metres of road all the way from No 40 Carrickmore Road to the North Star Dyke; this was later reduced.

Public pressure led to the removal of the unauthorised kerbing and lights

Objectors as well as other local people, including elected representatives, have no such veto but they do have a right to freely express their opinions. Officials from Transport NI, Coleraine, had an opportunity on January 13 past to hear these opinions as well as the opinions of the private individual's agents.

Public access over private lands is a matter for landowners and the local council; it need not involve space that is already public.

Official update: "I can advise that the matter is still under consideration. It is anticipated that a decision will be reached by the end of February 2016. The applicant and objectors will be advised in writing in due course."

Added 6 February 2017

February 2016 came and went but, one year on, this message arrived from the Department for Infrastructure:

[Background on this long running saga can be found by searching NALIL with 'carrickmore' and 'marconi'.]

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Dark Hedges - an abuse of heritage 2?

Stephen Dickey has just sent me a link to his recent blog. Here's a snippet:

"The photograph at the top of this page is the latest 'disaster' to be inflicted on this beautiful road. Not only is the white line down the middle of the road the visual equivalent of graffiti on a beautiful building, but look at how the new road surface encroaches on the base of the trees. It beggars belief that someone signed off on this decision. I know I'm not the only person thinking "what an idiot!"  I realise that it is much easier to to critisise decisions from the sidelines than to make them whilst following rules and regulations, but is this really the best we can do?"

Storm Gertrude levels trees at famed beauty spot Dark Hedges

Outrage over Dark Hedges work

8 August 2010

Red-faced roads officials have admitted white line markings were mistakenly painted under the famous 'Dark Hedges' trees in Northern Ireland - dramatically altering the view of the hugely popular natural wonder.

The lines should be erased within a day or two - but it seems part of the verges has gone.

Added February 10

Blasting the line away

Under close media scutiny

Some wear and tear

Major wear and tear

Road repairs encroaching on the verge