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A5 landowners 'must get compensation'

More than 400 farmers and landowners are being urged to ensure they are properly compensated by the Government if they are affected by the construction of the A5 dual carriageway.

The Department for Regional Development (DRD) has confirmed that there are 419 landowners along the A5 route, and, of these, 171 will be affected by the two sections that are being started this year.

Compensation claims can be submitted from September 11 when the vesting order comes into force.

The two sections run for 15km from Newbuildings to Strabane and 23km from Ballygawley to Omagh.

Work is to start in the autumn and will take two-and-a-half years.

Strabane District Council chairman Thomas Kerrigan said it was vital that all those with land being vested for the project receive settlements.

“Strabane District Council is fully aware that some local residents and landowners are strongly opposed to this project because it is directly affecting their land or their property,” he said. “Council would urge the department to fully compensate those landowners affected by compulsory purchase or acquisition.

“Council trusts the department will work to ensure that local landowners and residents are inconvenienced as little as possible by this project.”

Mr Kerrigan welcomed commitments given by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy to the £300m project and described the corridor as an “essential infrastructural investment in west Tyrone”.

A DRD spokeswoman said that compensation claims will be dealt with by the Department of Finance and Personnel’s Land and Property Service.

“Roads Service pays reasonable fees for a lands agent to negotiate compensation on behalf of landowners,” she said, adding that meetings have already been held with affected landowners to discuss accommodation works which will help mitigate the impact of the scheme.

“Roads Service will continue to liaise with landowners to try and reduce the impact where possible” she said.

Belfast Telegraph