From the pages of the Down Recorder, November 10, 1993

From the pages of the Down Recorder, November 10, 1993

15 November 2023

BALLYGOWAN – Senior Department of Environment chiefs are set to announce that Ballygowan will not be getting a pedestrian crossing, it has emerged.

The news will come as a severe body blow to local campaigners who have lobbied local councillors and Government officials over the past number of months. 

Villagers say a pedestrian crossing is needed to improve safety in Ballygowan, but the Department says that it does not meet the criteria required to have such a facility.

However, while the provision of a pedestrian crossing has been ruled out, it is understood that the Department is looking at a number of alternatives.

“We have carried out an extensive survey in the Ballygowan area but the village does not meet the criteria required,” said a spokesman. However, we are looking at a number of other options.”

The news is expected to be made public in two weeks time but it will not cut much ice with villagers.

Mrs Jean Jamison, who has been campaigning for improved safety measures in the village, said she was furious.

“Ballygowan is a death trap for pedestrians and something must be done to slow traffic before someone is killed,” she declared. “The speed of traffic in the village is frightening.”

DOWNPATRICK – The latest regeneration project gets underway in Downpatrick within a fortnight with the signing up of a local contractor to begin rebuilding two Irish Street eyesores.

The £340,000 total replacement of the three-storey buildings facing down Market Street with similar-looking but much-improved offices will be carried out by the H J O’Boyle organisation.

The deal is to be funded under new rules for the DoE/IFI’s joint CRISP initiative, which sets up special regeneration projects, designed to bring the totally derelict building back into use. It also brings local jobs.

“There has been an overwhelming response from both the private and the public sectors,” said Mr Cecil Maxwell, chairman of voluntary overseeing company, the Downpatrick Property Trust, at Down County Museum on Monday.

“The scheme, which foresees on two of the most centrally located buildings, will provide an important thrust to the attempts to restore the town’s commercial heart,” he continued.

BALLYNAHINCH – It’s going to be business as usual for Ballynahinch Chamber of Commerce.

The town’s business community has voted to keep the Chamber in operation following a crisis meeting last week.

The new president, Mr Graham Smyth, has promised that the chamber will play its full part in providing Ballynahinch with a bumper Christmas package.

And he has pledged that the organisation will do its utmost to protect the interests of the local business community. 

Up until last Wednesday night, the very future of the chamber was hanging in the balance. Formed two years ago as a replacement for the defunct Chamber of Trade, it could boast attendances of up to 50 members at some meetings.

However, attendances in recent months had slumped to the extent that at last month’s meeting, there  weren’t enough members to form a quorum.

Mr Smyth said Wednesday’s meeting was “make or break” for the chamber. “The attendance was still poor, but a decision was taken to stay in existence,” he said.

“We will be sending out a questionnaire in the New Year to ask for views on how the chamber should go forward,“ he continued. 

SAINTFIELD – Beginners taking their first swings with a golf club may find a new, 40-acre course planned for Saintfield ideally suited to them.

Developer Richard Patterson said he will design the course specifically for families and beginners because their needs are often ignored on the courses.

Putting the investment at around £100,000 the new club was recently given planning approval after a complicated application involving both Lisburn and Castlereagh councils. 

Mr Patterson said he was taking the “slightly different approach” to tap a new market created by a new public interest in golf.

ARDGLASS – The fight to save Ardglass residential home Ardview House from closure has received the backing of the Eastern Health Council.

Council members say the Eastern Health Board would be wrong to close the statutory residential home because it is one of the most cost-effective facilities in the area.

The recommendation was approved at last Thursday’s council meeting and followed a series of visits to a number of threatened facilities within the Down and Lisburn areas.

The Rev Sidney Callaghan said that while he accepted there was an over-provision of residential beds in the area, he voiced concern about the future roles of private homes and whether or not they could meet increased demand.

“The council agrees that St John’s Home in Downpatrick and Ballynahinch’s Grove House should be retained, but there are also strong arguments for retaining Ardview as well,” he declared. 

“Ardview House is a purpose-built facility and received a substantial investment in a number of years ago to fund a new wing for the elderly mentally infirm.”

“The proposal to close Ardveiw is somewhat premature at this time because there is not sufficient information available,” he declared.

NEWCASTLE – Down councillors are seeking to reconvene a special meeting on the future of housing development in Newcastle.

After the axing of the Altnadua drainage scheme, councillors are to seek the meeting with officials form the Housing Executive, Planning Service and Department of Agriculture along with private developers.

The meeting was proposed by local councillor Michael Boyd, who says he is baffled that a scheme deemed urgent is now deemed unnecessary.

“The last meeting we had on public sector housing in Newcastle was almost of crisis proportions,” said Mr Boyd. “We have had no public sector housing since the completion of the Corrigs Avenue.”

He was supported by Castlewellan councillor, Eamonn O’Neill, who said the waiting list in Newcastle continues to orbit high.

“I am greatly relieved to hear from the Planning Service that there is a round 90 acres of land available for development, but it strikes me as unusual that the Housing Executive finds it difficult to find land in Newcastle,” he said.

Councillor Gerry Douglas said a lot of the land within the Burren flood plain had been bought 10 years ago by a private developer, who stood to lose out.

DUNSFORD  – Work on the sewerage system at St Michael’s Park, Dunsford, is due to begin in the New Year, the South Down MP, Mr Eddie McGrady, has been told.

Mr McGrady, who has been campaigning for the work for a considerable time, as learnt that the Housing Executive hopes a start will be made in January, pending final approval from the DoE Water Executive, the Department of Agriculture and the Public Health Department.

“This will alleviate the distress currently experienced by the local residents in St Michael’s Park and also local landowners,” he said.

KILLYLEAGH – New efforts are to be made to promote the tourist potential of the Killyleagh area.

A special meeting of the tourist providers in the area was called recently by the town’s Development Committee, in a bid to establish closer co-operation and better promotion of the town.

Mr Michael Heron, chairman of the Development Committee which was established to help regenerate the economic fortunes of the town, presided at the meeting.