From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 17, 2011

From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 17, 2011

20 January 2021

DOWNPATRICK – A local community has this week spoken out against a mobile telephone mast which has been erected within meters of their homes.

The mast, which was put up in Downpatrick’s Fountain Street at the end of November, is the first of its kind to be erected in a local town centre.

But residents of the area fear that the radio waves emitted from the mast, which is just metres away from a row of pensioners’ bungalows and the local youth club, may pose a potential health risk.

Several local people this week claimed the mast had been erected without adequate consultation with the Planning Service and the mobile telephone company which owns the mast, Orange.

Mr Patsy McGreevy, who lives in a pensioner’s bungalow directly opposite the mast, said he was never approached about the mast, even though it is within feet of his home.

“This is an eyesore but, more importantly, some experts believe the radio waves emitted from these masts may pose a health hazard,” he said.

“Maybe the people who decided to put this mast here thought pensioners would be an easy target because they would not complain, but it seems we have no choice,” he added. “I will try to do something to have it removed and would like to see a  petition drawn up by local people.”

KILLINCHY – A Killinchy factory, which employs 150 people, is facing its second closure threat in two years.

The future of the Carpets International plant will be discussed at a crucial board meeting in England later this morning and workers at the factory fear their jobs could be on the line.

Two years ago, the Killinchy factory was on the brink of closure, but a rescue plan was put together by its current American owners. They are currently refusing to make any comment on the speculation that the plant could close.

Staff at Killinchy believe the jobs of the 150-strong workforce are now back in the melting pot with the plant’s future hinging on the outcome of this morning’s meeting in Bradford which will examine a major restricting programme.

The talks in England, which will be attended by senior shop stewards from Killinchy, are the latest in a series and sources close to staff at the plant, where morale is described as being at an all-time low, fear jobs could be lost.

NEWCASTLE – Speculation is mounting that Down District’s founding integrated primary school will be granted a new building in next month’s education budget.

The Education Minister paid a visit to All Children’s Primary School in Newcastle last week, fuelling speculation that the school will be included in the Department of  Education’s new capital programme.

Mr Martin McGuinness’ visit to All Children’s came just 24 hours after the Down Recorder revealed that it was the only school in the district composed entirely of mobile classrooms, with some temporary rooms up to 50 years old.

In the first visit to the school by an Education Minister in over 10 years, Mr McGuinness said the school’s accommodation needs were “obvious” and had been accepted by the Department.

“I am keen to see more development in the future and will do everything possible to give children greater access to better quality facilities which they need and deserve,” he said.

KILLYLEAGH – Water Service chiefs have this week confirmed a closed value on the main supply line was to blame for recent water shortages in Killyleagh.

A number of homes and businesses were left without water over the Christmas and New Year periods as a result of the problem which was eventually discovered by Water Service officials.

Homes across the town were affected by the problem at the Coily Hill reservoir on the outskirts of the town.

Water Service officials have also blamed intensive repair work carried out in the area in the wake of the freezing conditions which gripped the area during Christmas week for contributing to the problem.

They say repairs had to be carried out to a number of burst watermain, service pipes and pumping mains which serviced large parts of the district.

Water Service officials have explained that following their investigations, it was discovered that a valve on the supply line to the Killyleagh reservoir had been “inadvertently closed by a third party” during work on a burst pipe.

CROSSGAR – After bringing laughter and a caring word to local people for almost five years, Fr Brian D’Arcy has said goodbye to his Crossgar home.

The popular priest moved from his home at Tobar Mhuire Monastery last Thursday to the Graan Monastery, which is situated two miles outside Enniskillen.

Leaving behind a large number of wonderful friends but carrying with him a plethora of special memories, Fr D’Arcy said he was sorry to leave but also happy to had the opportunity to meet so many lovely people. Crossgar was a very pleasant place to live. It is situated close the the bustle of Belfast and also to the quiet of the country.

“However, the best thing about living there was the lovely people. Over the years I became very fond of the people in the area and it is very hard to leave so many good friends,” he said.

A member of the Passionist Order for 31 years, Fr D’Arcy is well known for his infectious humour on a number of BBC programmes.

SHRIGLEY – Plans for a massive £14m investment in Shrigley could be subjected to a public inquiry, it has emerged.

Planning officials have this week confirmed an inquiry could be ordered into the plan to develop a 25-acre site to provide a new mini-village development, but local politicians hope the public probe will not be necessary.

The Department of Environment has written to Down Council seeking its view on the proposal and its politicians have made it clear they are fully behind the plan which is the largest ever proposed for Down District.

However, they have made it clear the ambitious development plan which includes the construction of new homes, shops, offices, small business units and recreation space, must not impact on the International Leathers plant which is based in Shrigley.

It occupies a corner of the site which has been earmarked for development and has recently taken on extra staff to cope with an increased order book. Politicians say the success of the firm must be guaranteed and in no way jeopardised by the plan.

SEAFORDE – Residents in Seaforde have voiced their concerns about a proposed new housing development.

A planning application for an 11-unit residential development at 2 Main Street, including seven townhouses and four apartments, has been lodged with the Planning Service.

But some local people intend to object to the proposal because of concerns about the impact the new development may have on the village.

Existing buildings at 2 Main Street, which were formally a pub, shop and dwelling, have been earmarked for demolition and redevelopment as part of the project and one resident said she was concerned that the historic value of these buildings would be lost.

She said several people intended lodging objections to the proposal on the grounds that the entrance would be too close to the corner and that the design of the houses, which would front onto the Newcastle Road, would not fit in with the rest of the village.

STRANGFORD – Down Council is to establish a new right-of-way in Strangford.

The new path will link Castle Street with Downpatrick Road and news of the move was confirmed at a special council meeting last week.