Belfast Telegraph

Knock Road public inquiry announced

A public inquiry has been announced into a road widening scheme on the A55 Knock Road, after local residents submitted over 110 objections.

The move has been welcomed by the Residents’ Association of Cherryvalley, Kensington and Shandon (RACKS), which last month raised concerns that the scheme would increase congestion and road safety problems in the neighbouring residential streets.

Announcing the public inquiry, the Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, said: “It is important that improvements are made to this part of our strategic road network.

“It is also important that the concerns of local people are fully taken into account before any final decisions are taken.

“I have therefore decided that a public inquiry should be held, giving everyone the opportunity to have their views considered.”

And welcoming the move, Richard O’Brian, from RACKS, said the group — who met last month with the Minister — was “delighted” at the move.

He added: “We plan to be active while the public inquiry is on-going and will be having a group meeting later this week to discuss our next move.”

The group is especially concerned the proposals will alter Knock Road’s junctions at 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 proposing to widen the Knock Road between King’s Road and Knockwood Park, with the aim of providing two lanes in each direction. Currently at this point the road reduces to one lane in each direction.

Victoria councillor Naomi Long MLA, said the inquiry would give people the chance to “have their say”.

She continued: “A large number of local residents are obviously deeply concerned in relation to these plans and I am very pleased that they will be given a genuine chance to have a say on this matter.”

Lord Wallace Browne MLA added: “The Minister has previously acknowledged that the proposed scheme would increase the traffic volumes in the surrounding residential areas, and I welcome the fact that he has decided to listen to the concerns of local residents.”

And Sir Reg Empey MLA has also welcomed the move, saying that it is in the ‘public’s best interest’.

He added: “I would like to congratulate the local residents’ groups on their well thought out and enthusiastic campaign.

“We now have the chance to satisfy the competing needs of road users and local residents.”

Arrangements are currently under way for the inquiry to be held in Autumn 2010.

Belfast Telegraph


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