Belfast Telegraph

Concerns raised over Knock Road scheme

By Lauren Mulvenny

A residents' group from east Belfast has urged the Minister for Regional Development to review plans to widen part of the Knock Road.

At a meeting with Conor Murphy earlier this month, The Residents’ Association of Cherryvalley, Kensington and Shandon (RACKS) highlighted its concerns that the scheme will increase congestion and road safety problems in the neighbouring residential streets.

The group is especially concerned with proposals to alter the junctions of the Knock Road with Shandon Park, Kensington Road and Cherryvalley, with fears it will encourage more commuter traffic through residential areas, rather than using the new improved road.

Roads Service is currently considering proposals to widen the Knock Road between King’s Road and Knockwood Park.

Currently the road reduces to only one lane in each direction at this point, causing delays at peak times. Roads Service is proposing to provide two lanes in each direction.

Ian Ratcliffe, RACKS chairman, said: “We do not object to this section of the Outer Ring being improved, however, we do insist that the department must properly consider the serious road safety problems the new junctions will cause local residents.

“Our area is already saturated with commuter traffic in the morning.

“We live on narrow residential streets, which are not designed to cope with heavy traffic and in some places do not have adequate pavements. This proposal will make the situation worse and cause even more potential hazards to residents and pedestrians.”

The group is confident that the minister listened and will act on their concerns and expect written correspondence from him soon, updating them on any changes to the proposals. Mr Ratcliffe concluded: “We are greatly encouraged that the minister was interested in our viewpoint and recognised our concerns.

“We welcome his undertaking that Roads Service will review their proposals for this scheme to address the concerns outlined at our meeting.”

Councillor Robin Newton also attended the meeting. He said: “I think it was a very positive meeting.

“The group presented a professional and coherent case to the minister.

“I believe they got their point across and the minister indicated he had taken their concerns into account.”

A Department For Regional Development spokesperson said:”The Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, recently met with local representatives and members of RACKS to listen to their concerns regarding the A55 scheme.

“Roads Service is currently considering all the comments received in response to the public consultation process and whether it would be appropriate to hold a Public Inquiry.”

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