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4th December 2007
Minutes of the Special Meeting of Council held on Tuesday 4 December 2007 at 7.30 pm in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane.
Present:- In the Chair: Councillor G Foley
Other Members: Councillors I Barr, A Bresland, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McGill, K McGuire, C McHugh, B McMahon, E McMenamin, J McNulty, J O’Kane
Total = 15
In Attendance: Clerk & Chief Executive, Administrative Assistant, Conor Loughrey, Deaglan MacBride and Harry Gallagher- Roads Service
Roads Service – Annual Report
The Chairman welcomed Mr Conor Loughrey Principal Engineer, Mr Deaglan MacBride and Mr Harry Gallagher, Senior Engineers, who attended the meeting to present the Roads Service Annual Report, a copy of which had been previously circulated for Members’ attention.
Mr Loughrey advised Members that the document contained the draft Local Transport and Safety Measures (LT&SM) Programme for 2008 - 2010 for the Strabane District Council area. He further advised that the draft programme contained road improvement schemes which the Division proposed to take forward and implement over the next two financial years, provided funding became available, together with an update on the progress of works in the current Strategic Roads Improvements, Maintenance and LT&SM Programmes.
Mr Gallagher referred to the 15 schemes within the LT&SM as outlined in the report and advised Members of the specific details of the proposed improvements on each of the following schemes:
· Lisnarragh/Glencoppagh Road - sightline improvement
· Garvan Road, Glebe – provision of footway
· Longland Road, Donemana – improvement of forward sight distance
· Drumlegagh Church Road, Newtownstewart – provision of footway to tie in with private housing development footway
· Plumbridge Bridge – upgrade of footway/realign portion of wall to widen the footway was on hold at present until issues with school buses was resolved
· Berryhill/Barron Road - sightline improvement
· Lisnarragh Road, Plumbridge – widening carriageway and forward sight distance in the vicinity of 339/340 Lisnarragh Road
· Drumlegagh Crossroads, Newtownstewart - sightline improvement
· Church/Aghyaran Road Crossroads - sightline improvement
· Victoria Road, Bready – Realignment of the carriageway at Bready Corner
· Lisnarragh Road, Plumbridge – Realign and widen carriageway near Devine’s Memorials.
· Castlefin Road, Castlederg – Provision of footways
· Millbrook Lane, Newtownstewart – Provision of footway
· Moorlough Road, Artigarvan – Provision of sightlines in conjunction with E.I. scheme
· Killeter Road, Castlederg – Realign bridge and widen footway
Strategic Road Improvements for 2007
Mr Loughrey gave the following update on the above strategic road improvements for 2007:
A5 Strabane Bypass-Stage 3
The statutory notices for the third stage of the Strabane Bypass were published in March 2007. However, the decision on whether to make the orders had been delayed in light of the prospect of the recently announced initiative to upgrade the A5 route to dual carriageway standard from Aughnacloy through to L’Derry.
The decision had now been taken by the Regional Development Minister, Mr Conor Murphy, to subsume the proposals for the Strabane By-pass Stage III into the development of a scheme to provide a new dual carriageway from Aughnacloy through to L’Derry. No further development work on the by-pass would therefore take place, however it was possible that the new dual carriageway route may take a similar route to that proposed for Stage III of the by-pass.
The estimated timetable for the new dual carriageway envisaged that it would take approximately 3 years to complete the statutory procedures. Route options would however be developed and presented at public exhibitions prior to this, and Council would be kept informed.
A5 Strabane – Lifford Link
The scheme, which was to be constructed as part of the N13/N14 Junction Manorcunningham to Lifford scheme, had been progressing toward the Publication of the Statutory Orders. However, following the Minister’s announcement confirming the proposals to upgrade the L’Derry to Aughnacloy A5 route to dual carriageway standard, progress on the scheme was likely to be reviewed by the southern NRA, Donegal County Council and Roads Service pending development of the route alignment.
Network Maintenance 2007-08
Mr MacBride provided Members with an update on the above schemes under the LT&SM as outlined in the report and made specific reference to the following:
Asphalt Resurfacing and Reconstruction
· Berryhill Road, Donemana – Completed
· Melmount Road, Sion Mills – Work in progress, to be finished early in 2008
· Urney Road, Clady – Postponed pending cross border funding
· Berryhill Road, Artigarvan – Completed
· Erganagh Road, Castlederg – Completed
· Learmore Road, Killen – Completed
· Deerspark Road, Newtownstewart – Completed
Programmed Asphalt Resurfacing
· Castletown Road, Strabane
· Fyfin Road, Victoria Bridge/Castlederg – subject to sufficient funding being available
Mr MacBride advised that, as in previous years, bitmac resurfacing works would be carried out on a priority basis to remove uneven stretches of carriageway and areas that required strengthening, The road where the most significant portion of resurfacing was planned was listed as:
· Knock Road, Douglas Bridge
Completed surface dressing
Mr MacBride advised that all schemes, as listed in the Spring Report, had now been completed.
Completed Footpath resurfacing
· Berryhill Road, Artigarvan
· Baronscourt Road, Newtownstewart
· Melmount Gardens, Strabane
· Church View, Artigarvan
Programmed footpath resurfacing
· Allen Park, Donemana
· Kilcurrangh Park, Castlederg
Local Transport & Safety Measures Update
Mr Loughrey provided Members with an update on the above schemes under the LT&SM as outlined in the report and made specific reference to the following:
· Glenelly Road – Complete
· Bellspark Road/Peacock Road, Sion Mills – On site, 90% complete
· Berryhill Road, Artigarvan – Out to Tender to commence March 2008
· Berryhill Road/Barron Road - Design on-going
· Berryhill Road/Moorlough Road, Artigarvan – To commence shortly
· Liskey Road/Carrigullen – Design on-going
· Fyfin Road, Victoria Bridge – Wearing course to be completed shortly
· Longland Road, Donemana – Design on-going
· Railway Street, Strabane – Developer led
· Leardin Road/Derborough Road – Land acquired
· Lisnarragh Road/Gortaclare Road – Complete
· Lisnarragh Road/Glencoppagh Road - Design and costings complete – resolving land issues
· McNally Park, Killeter and Carn Road/Magheraneenagh Road Crossroads – Combined scheme as they had one land owner – Designs ongoing
· Ballymagorry (near Post Office) – Design Underway – NIE supply requested
· Killeter Road, Castlederg – Land negotiations ongoing but might have to be vested.
· Allen Park, Donemana – Due to commence in December 2007
· Clady Village – To commence in January 2008
· Mourne Park, Newtownstewart – Consultation proposed for January 2008
Safer Routes to School (S.R.S)
· St Patrick’s Primary School, Castlederg - Signs erected and red surfacing to be provided. Work provision of bus boarder due to start in December 2007.
The Chairman thanked the delegation for the presentation and invited comments and queries from Members.
Councillor McBride welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He raised the following issues:
· Confirmation that the proposed A5 scheme was still going ahead
· Clarification on the Lisnarragh Road/Glencoppagh Road Scheme
· Serious problems with bridge in Plumbridge with huge safety issues regarding school children boarding buses and a large volume of heavy traffic going through the village
Mr Loughrey stated that the scheme was definitely going ahead and negotiations were on-going with the cross-border groups, of which he was Project Sponsor. He further advised that they were attempting to resolve land issues in respect of the Lisnarragh Road/Glencoppagh Road scheme and when they were resolved, the scheme would then be determined. With regard to the bridge in Plumbridge, Mr Loughrey stated there were a number of on-going issues to be dealt with. He felt that perhaps Ulsterbus could look at uplifting the children on the Newtownstewart Road, opposite the DOE yard which would be less hazardous. Mr Loughrey stated that this scheme was presently on hold until the various issues had been resolved.
Councillor Donnell welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He welcomed the following schemes:
· The realignment of carriageway at Bready corner
· The sightlines improvement scheme at Church Road/Aghyaran Road Crossroads
· The realignment of carriageway at Berryhill Road, Artigarvan
· The provision of a new pelican crossing at Ballymagorry
· The programmed footpath resurfacing at Allen Park, Donemana
and raised the following issues:
· The alignment of the mini roundabout at Fyfin Road, Victoria Bridge as large lorries were driving straight through
· Link up position of the A5 Strabane/Lifford scheme at major traffic junction
Mr Loughrey advised that the mini roundabout at Fyfin Road was unfinished with a wearing course still to be put down. Road markings would then make drivers more aware that they are approaching a roundabout and to proceed with care.
Mr Gallagher advised that following the Minister’s recent announcement regarding the upgrade of the L’Derry to Aughnacloy route, the A5 Strabane/Lifford link had now been put on hold and the link up position would not be determined until the route was defined.
Councillor Emery welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He advised the delegation that the finished Glenroan Bridge scheme, Plumbridge was excellent and was a complete transformation of a dangerous bend. He also welcomed the following schemes:
· Realignment of carriageway from Pine Road to Artigarvan Primary School
· Pelican crossing at Ballymagorry Post Office
· Realignment of carriageway at Victoria Road/Bready Corner
and raised the following issues:
· The amount of this year’s budget as compared to last year
· Overtaking lane required at Drumnagaugy Brae, Bready
· Confusion re: white lines outside Sion Mills (Newtownstewart side)
Mr Loughrey advised that the budget this year was the same as last year, but if there was any underspend then schemes like Drumnagaugy Brae could be considered. He further advised that there were ongoing issues with the landowners at Sion Mills which had now been resolved and the contractors would be returning to finish the scheme shortly.
Councillor McHugh welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He welcomed the following schemes:
· Provision of footways at Castlefin Road, Castlederg
· Realignment of bridge and widening of footway at Killeter Road, Castlederg
· Safer Routes to School – St Patrick’s Primary School, Castlefin Road, Castlederg
and raised the following issues:
· When carrying out Castlefin Road, Castlederg scheme, consideration could be given to extending footways on both sides to beyond the speed limits
· When carrying out Killeter Road, Castlederg scheme, consideration could be given to the dip in the road at the junction of Cavan Road/Killeter Road as this was an extremely dangerous junction.
Mr Gallagher stated that at the present time they were unable to extend the footpaths on the Castlefin Road any further as it infringed on part of a resident’s garden and the owner was not willing to lose part of the garden. However he advised that they would be willing to look at the sightlines in relation to the junction at Cavan Road/Killeter Road.
Councillor McGill welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. She acknowledged that Roads Service had a very good response system for callers and staff were very accessible. She wished to congratulate them on their excellent customer care approach.
She also welcomed the following schemes:-
· Glenroan Bridge, Plumbridge
· Realignment and widening of carriageway along Lisnarragh Road near Devine’s Memorials
and raised the following issues:-
· Bridge in Plumbridge – ongoing safety issues for children boarding school buses and also narrowness of footpath for pedestrians
· Dangerous junction at Ash Avenue
Mr Loughrey acknowledged that several issues had to be resolved with the Western Education & Library Board (WELB) and Translink before any works could be carried out on the bridge in Plumbridge.
In relation to a turning lane at Ash Avenue, Mr Loughrey advised that the volume of traffic dictated the urgency of this scheme, and unfortunately Ash Avenue might not qualify as the volume of traffic was low.
Councillor Bresland welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He welcomed the following schemes:-
· Allen Park, Donemana
· Berryhill Road, Artigarvan
and raised the following issues:
· Ash Avenue – plenty of room to widen the road
· Longlands Road – narrow bridge needed to be widened as there had been 5 accidents there already
· Sion Mills – white lines on roadway very unsatisfactory and misleading to drivers
· Speed limit in Bready
Mr Loughrey advised that with only 10 households in Ash Avenue it would not meet the criteria for a turning lane but he would investigate the matter further. He further advised that they would look into the matter of the narrow bridge when carrying out other remedial works on the Longland Road. Unfortunately the 40mph speed limit in Bready was a long process but the white lines on the roadway in Sion Mills should be resolved early in the New Year.
Councillor Kerrigan welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He welcomed the following schemes:-
· Millbrook Lane, Newtownstewart
· Drumlegagh Crossroads
· Killeter Road, Castlederg
and raised the following issue:
· Roundabout in Victoria Bridge
· Speed limit signs at Spamount
· Bridge in Castlederg – now was appropriate time for work to be considered as HEART were in the process of installing new lighting system on the bridge
Mr Loughrey advised that the roundabout in Victoria Bridge was nearing the laying down of road markings stage which should help the situation and make drivers more aware of the oncoming roundabout. He further advised that all the speed limits were to be advertised next week and hopefully should be in place early in 2008. He also advised that Mr MacBride would investigate the Castlederg bridge matter in view of the forthcoming works under the HEART project.
Councillor McGuire welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He welcomed the following schemes and queried the start dates:-
· McNally Park, Killeter
· Carn Road/Magheraneenagh Road Crossroads
and questioned if there would be a start date shortly.
Mr Loughrey advised that in all probability the two schemes would be combined and they shared the same landowner and it was hoped these schemes would commence early in the New Year.
Councillor McNulty welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He raised the following issues:-
· Meetinghouse Street, Strabane – subsidence at junction opposite Doran’s shop
· Barrack Street/Newtownkennedy Street – traffic calming measures needed, especially during school hours as it was a very dangerous place for the school children
· Fountain Street, Strabane – ramps required to control speeding
Mr Loughrey advised that traffic calming measures in relation to the school would be investigated under the Safer Routes to School (SRS) and the other two issues would be investigated by MacBride.
Councillor Hussey welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He raised the following issues:-
· Clarification on the Drumlegagh Church Road, Newtownstewart scheme and confirmation on which side of the road the footpath would be implemented
· Drumlegagh Crossroads, Newtownstewart – should this scheme not be carried out in conjunction with the above scheme and not as 2 separate schemes
· Clarification on Killeter Road, Castlederg scheme (Councillor Hussey declared an interest as his relatives lived in Castleview Terrace)
· Clarification on the Urney Road, Clady scheme which was postponed pending cross border funding
· Bridge in Castlederg was in a very dangerous state and hazardous to pedestrians and large volume of school children who have to use it to gain access to the High School
· As partial funding of the B85 Urney Road Clady was to come from cross border funding, would the scheme still proceed if that funding was not forthcoming.
Mr Loughrey advised that the footpath on the Drumlegagh Church Road would run on the left hand side down as far as the junction to tie in with a new development in that area. Councillor Hussey felt the footpath should be provided on the right hand side as the school was on that side and a footpath was required for the children’s safety. Mr Loughrey further advised that they would attempt to combine the two schemes if the land issues were resolved at the same time.
In relation to the Killeter Road scheme, Mr Loughrey advised they had difficulties in acquiring the land at a reasonable price and that they might have to go through a vesting procedure in order to obtain the required land.
Mr Loughrey advised that the bridge in Castlederg was not in their 2-year proposals but he would attempt to have the scheme assessed as he felt it was very worthwhile. It would then have to take its place in the queue, depending on what funding was available.
Mr MacBride advised that the Urney Road, Clady scheme had been postponed as they were hopeful of obtaining cross border funding, as similar complementary schemes were being carried out in Donegal. Should the funding not be forthcoming, he confirmed that the Urney Road scheme would remain in the Roads Service programme.
Councillor Foley welcomed the delegation and thanked them for the report. He raised the following issues:-
· The possibility of a pedestrian crossing in front of the Alley Theatre
· The possibility of disabled parking provision at the Alley Theatre
Mr Loughrey advised that the above schemes would be investigated and, if viable, would be added to a programme and undertaken if, and when, funds became available.
The Chairman thanked the delegation for the presentation.
Pay & Display Car Parking at Strabane Health Centre Car Park
Councillor Barr advised Roads Service that he was against the Pay & Display car parking restrictions proposed for the Health Centre car park. He further stated that it was an imposition for staff members, drivers loading/unloading medical supplies and patients attending the Health Centre as they would be unsure how long they would have to wait to see a doctor.
Mr Loughrey advised Members that further to a Roads Service meeting in April it was decided that more Pay & Display car parking was required in Strabane and that they had considered 2 car parks – the Health Centre car park and the car park at the Bowling Green. Roads Service had decided that Pay & Display car parking at the Health Centre was the best option as Pay & Display car parking in the Bowling Green would place pressure on the Upper Main Street car parking.
Proposed De-pedestrianisation of Strabane Town Centre
Councillor Barr advised the Roads Service that the proposed de-pedestrianisation of the town centre was still under consideration. He further advised that lorries loading and unloading their vehicles within the town centre were being ticketed by the traffic wardens which he thought was illegal.
Mr Loughrey advised that vehicles loading and unloading in a pedestrian area should have a permit allowing them to do so, and it should also be time controlled.
Councillor McNulty asked the delegation what was the best way forward in their view regarding de-pedestrianisation of the town centre.
Mr Loughrey stated that the Roads Service had no strong views either way and they did not consider it a priority.
Councillor McMenamin enquired as to who should make the final decision, Council or DOE, or if it should be a joint decision.
Mr Loughrey again advised that it was not a priority for the Roads Service but he felt that possibly the Department of Social Development (DSD) should be the organisation to get involved in this matter.
Councillor O’Kane felt that the final decision should be left to the general public and that an opinion poll should be taken as to their views on the situation.
District Policing Partnership (DPP) Representatives
Councillor McMahon advised Members that he was disappointed that Sinn Fein could not fill their quota of 5 representatives to the above Partnership but that he respected their wishes and confirmed that they would fully engage in all aspects of the DPP.
The 3 Nominees were:-
Councillor Brian McMahon
Councillor Claire McGill, MLA
Councillor Ivan Barr
The CE advised that under D’Hondt the additional two seats would fall to the DUP.
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Emery, Councillors Allan Bresland and John Donnell were nominated to the seats.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, the meeting went ‘into committee’
On the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, it was agreed that the meeting go ‘out of committee’.
Human Rights Day Debate
The CE referred to correspondence from the Holy Cross School, Strabane requesting Councillors to speak at above event.
Councillor McMenamin agreed to speak at the above Debate on 11 December 2007 and Councillor McNulty advised that he would liaise with the BM to confirm whether he would be free also to speak at the Debate.
On the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor Emery, approval was given to sign the Form of Release of a covenant in respect of Bready Cricket Club Old Grounds.
The meeting ended at 9.55pm.
DATED this 4th day of DECEMBER 2007
Clerk & Chief Executive
DATED this 8th day of JANUARY 2008
Chairman of the Council