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Meeting to be held concerning plan to sell Craigantlet reservoirs

I am holding talks with NI Water today (Friday 17 September 2010) concerning their plans to sell all six reservoirs in the Craigantlet area.

I recently became aware of NI Water’s plan to sell four reservoirs in the Craigantlet area at Church Road, Creighton’s Green, Ballysallagh Lower and Upper. Upon further investigation I became aware that they also plan to sell the two reservoirs in Conlig.

A senior official from NI Water informed me on 26 August 2010 that ‘Northern Ireland Water currently owns the four impounding reservoirs in the Craigantlet area and the two in the Conlig area.  All six impounding reservoirs are currently out of service and Northern Ireland Water is in the process of formally declaring these locations no longer required for future use’. He also informed me that ‘any disposal will be in accordance with Northern Ireland Water's disposal strategy’.

I have since obtained a copy of their Disposal Strategy via a Freedom of Information request and it appears that, according to their Disposal Strategy, the land will first be offered to the original land owners. The current market value will be sought and, if the original land owner isn’t interested, NI Water will attempt to sell the land through its professional property advisor on a ‘no sale no fee’ basis or through tender or multiple auction. The Disposal Strategy is however a complicated document which seems to have been hastily written without a date when it was issued and is still a draft document.

After becoming aware of NI Water’s plans I immediately contacted some of the Angling groups which use the reservoirs. I am extremely keen that they retain the right to use the reservoirs for fishing. Whilst the reservoirs are no longer required as a result of NI Water’s new Water Resource Strategy they have great potential to become places for the public to enjoy. I cannot foresee why Anglers cannot continue to use the Reservoirs whilst also enhancing the parkland surrounding the reservoirs to create excellent walks.

I am very concerned that NI Water intend to sell these reservoirs which were built and maintained at the tax payers expense during the last 75 years. At my meeting on Friday I intend to find out more about NI Water’s plans and lobby them to abandon their proposed sale of the reservoirs.