Rural residents unhappy with A1 consultation

Public consultation on

proposals to close off the central reservation of the A1 carriageway has been found wanting among Dromore’s

rural residents, many of whom oppose the plans as they stand.

According to Dromore Councillor Paul Rankin residents living off the carriageway have complained about the length of time for consultation.

“Many people have reported that they did not receive an information flyer, or comment sheet, and were unaware of the DRD’s proposals,” he said.

Publicly distributed consultation questionnaires were initially to be back with Roads Service by December 6. That deadline was, however, later extended to December 20.

Mr Rankin and DUP colleagues Councillor Hazel Gamble and Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots were among those to stress the importance of adequate consultation as they reported significant concern over at least part of the plans.

In a joint statement Mr Poots and Dromore Councillor Mrs Gamble said, “The A1 is a particularly dangerous road and we welcome any measures that will help improve road safety for users.

“It is important that all those affected by the changes are fully consulted. The flyovers will certainly aid the safe crossing of the carriageway; however, residents and farmers in the area will be affected if a number of existing roads are closed in conjunction with it.

“It is imperative that they are fully consulted to ensure that any decisions taken will be in interests of everyone and the best outcome is achieved for all.”

Mr Rankin said, “Most people are in favour of the DRD Roads proposals to close off the central reservation and erect a continuous central safety barrier between Hillsborough and Loughbrickland. There is general concensus that this is a beneficial and necessary move, in regards to improving road safety, but there are many people who live in the rural areas adjacent to the A1 carriageway who are unhappy at the DRD’s proposals to close a number of minor road junctions and accesses onto the A1, which will mean that they have to travel further distances along mainly narrow rural roads, which were not designed for heavy traffic and are not salted, to get to one of the nearest proposed new flyover type junctions.”

He too had supported calls for the extension of the consultation period, though he thanked Roads Service for agreeing to individually meet some of those families who had raised concerns .