Belfast Telegraph

Historic village of Hillsborough bids to ban lorries

By Linda Stewart

Heavy lorries are to be banned from the historic village of Hillsborough.

Under the plans announced by Regional Development Minister Michele McIlveen last night, a 7.5 tonne weight limit would be introduced in the conservation area in a staged approach.

The first phase would apply to the stretch of Lisburn Street from the Culcavy Road to the Ballynahinch Road/Main Street junction. 

"This scheme is designed to help reduce the large numbers of HGV traffic that travel daily through the historic village of Hillsborough but still allow businesses to trade normally," the Minister said.

"I am confident the conservation area and those living and working in the village will benefit from this proposal.

Following the introduction of stage one, the scheme will be monitored and further phases considered if necessary. 

Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale welcomed the plan, saying it tackles the problem of HGVs using the village as a rat run, but it has met with opposition in some quarters.

Derek Patterson, who owns The Plough Inn, said it would prove impossible to work for vehicles serving the agricultural research centre, village businesses, Hillsborough Castle and coaches bringing tourists from cruise ships.

"These are the wishes of a few residents, people who worry about the underpinning of the foundations of the old properties within Hillsborough because of heavy vehicles," he said.

"It hasn't taken into consideration the economic survival of the village - it has come from retired residents that already have a comfortable lifestyle and want the world to revolve round them.

"We're in 2016 and the world is changing, whether you like it or not. Every village in Ireland must go through this - do you lock down the whole country?"

DUP MLA Brenda Hale said she has been campaigning for the introduction of this measure for some time.

"After five years of consistent lobbying, in 2015 Roads Service finally agreed in principle to my calls for weight restriction measures to tackle the problem of HGVs using the Hillsborough to Culcavy through route as a 'rat run'," she said.

"I am confident that we will see real benefits as a result of this scheme, but if it does not fully address this ongoing problem then a second phase covering a wider area can be implemented."

The legislative process for the introduction of a weight limit will be advertised in the coming weeks.

The public will be able to make representations to the proposal within 22 days of the date of the placing of the 'Notice of Intention' advertisement in media.

Belfast Telegraph


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