Sunday, 22 May 2016

Congratulations Rory McIlroy on Irish Open win

I offer warmest congratulations to Rory McIlroy on his Irish Open Win which is not only a personal success but also a reason for great pride for the people of Holywood and beyond.

His donation of the winning of £515,000 to charity is a testament to his sense of generosity and commitment to those in need.

I will be following up my request that Council explores permanent recognition of Rory’s achievements in Holywood Town Centre this week, keen to ensure we celebrate and remember his great successes.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Battle to secure Cairn Wood’s Future continues

Earlier this year we witnessed people power in action with thousands of people signing the petition I set-up, actively lobbying Councillors to support my motions at Ards and North Down Borough Council and attending a packed Public Meeting in Holywood. 

Just a few days after we presented the Petition to the Northern Ireland Assembly the Minister performed a u-turn, halting the sale and announcing that “the Forest Service has now expressed a strong interest to NI Water in purchasing this site, therefore in line with guidance on the disposal of assets, sale on the open market will no longer be pursued while this interest is explored”.

Whilst we all welcomed minister’s announcement little firm information on future plans has flowed to the public from either NI Water, Department for Regional Development or the Forest Service, despite repeated requests.

With my passion to secure Cairn Wood’s future undiminished I therefore submitted Freedom of Information requests to secure openness and transparency on the issue. The deadline for response was last Friday 27 April but unfortunately a decision has now been made to delay disclosure until after the election. 

Monday, 2 May 2016

Bike Week wheels into Ards & North Down Borough

Bike Week is due to wheel into Ards and North Down after I managed to secure Council support to organise a series of events to encourage cycling.

I brought the motion after previously securing Council support in previous years to celebrate Bike Week which will occur 11 – 19 June 2016. Bike Week 2016 theme is focused upon Cycling to Work

With Brian and Mary before setting off
on Piccolo Fondo Cycle Ride in 2015

As a Honorary Member of North Down Cycling Club and Sustrans Volunteer Ranger, I am delighted to have secured unanimous support of the relevant Council Committee to embrace Bike Week via organising a series of events. Cycling is good both for your body, mind and the environment whilst also a quick and cheap way to get from A to B.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Full steam ahead for Cultra Station Restoration

I am delighted at news plans to restore Cultra Station House have been given the green-light for early May.

I have been leading the campaign to save the well-known local site since 2011 – when the listed building was put up for sale by Ireland’s Bad Bank NAMA. A brighter future is ahead as a result of sustained lobbying and hard work.

Far too often we see historic buildings gradually fall into disrepair, left to whither and fall into ruins until demolished and lost forever due to Health and Safety concerns. Whilst previous plans existed to renovate and convert Cultra Station, but these quickly hit the buffers when the economic crash hit Northern Ireland with Ireland’s Bad Bank NAMA acquiring the property in 2011.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Conlig Reservoirs up for sale

Councillor Muir at Conlig Reservoirs
I am urging Northern Ireland Water to provide more information on the planned sale of Conlig Upper and Lower Reservoirs after discovering that the potential for private sale is actively being explored.

I made contact with NI Water after a local resident approached me with concerns that the Reservoirs could be sold with the much loved open space lost for alternative and potentially unwelcome uses.

In response an NI Water official stated “Within the past few weeks we have had some enquiries regarding the status of the reservoirs, and potential for private sale … NI Water has no plans to sell these reservoirs on the open market.”

I am extremely concerned to learn that NI Water plan to sell these Reservoirs which adjoin major housing areas in Conlig Village and Beechfield. For many years they have open spaces, accessible for all to enjoy, take a stroll or to walk your dog. With a private sale now potentially due to take place behind closed doors an uncertain future beckons for those neighbouring both Reservoirs plus those who enjoy the public spaces.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Muir working to complete Coastal Path upgrade

Whilst work is underway to explore funding to complete upgrade of the North Down Coastal Path, wider plans for a Ards and North Down Greenway have also been announced, linking paths to deliver a Borough wide network.

Councillor Muir at Kinnegar when leading a previous
cycle ride from Holywood to Belfast
I regularly use the North Down Coastal path as a keen runner and was involved in securing upgrade of previous sections along what some describe as North Down’s “Gold Coast” such as the new Boardwalk which replaced the steep steps at Seahill and obtaining 24/7 access between the Kinnegar and Airport Road sectors linking Holywood and Belfast.