Friday, 17 September 2010

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.


amanfromMars said...

Bravo, Andrew.

A resource for consideration of NDBC purchase, to keep it out of rapacious private sector hands, and freely available as a national treasure to be jealously guarded and secured against exploitation at the public expense.

Anonymous said...

Triple bravo Andrew keep up the excellent work

Anonymous said...

Seeing they were transferred from the local council on the imposition of direct rule in 1972, the fair thing to do wound be to transfer them back.The council could then manage them for the benefit of the local fishermen. I'am sure given the current circumstances NIW would be only to glad to get rid of them and pass on the liability of running them to the council

amanfromMars said...

"This is a long-term investment," replied Madeleine. "Countries that sell us their polluted lakes or rivers are, in effect, privatizing their water systems. The country pays to use our clean water. In time, when people realize how valuable a commodity clean water is, they will pay a premium. Governments will deal with this by raising taxes--or by charging a water tariff based on usage. For the up-front cost and maintenance of water treatment plants, we expect to collect dividends in perpetuity." ....

Now how Spooky is that, Andrew? :-)

Anonymous said...

Cllr Muir,

You will wish to note that they are also trying to sell Stoneyford reservoir in Lisburn - one of the few local "free" fishing ameneties.

As you have pointed out - local anglers in their thousands have paid for the upkeep and stocking of these waters for years - why should they now be sold off to the highest bidder?

Happy to discuss further should you wish.

Anonymous said...

I an confused that there is an issue with disposing of these assets by the State. The NI public secotr can no longer afford to support such assets that are no longer creating value for the tax payer. Value from disposal can be reinvested elsewhere.

Andrew Muir said...

Thank you for all the comments. I managed to get some news from NI Water last Friday which means that the battle is certainly not lost. Will post an update soon about future steps to Save the Reservoirs.

I don't however agree with view posted that the Reservoirs should be disposed of since they are "no longer creating value for the tax payer" If we applied this principle North Down & N Ireland would loose many of our great public and green spaces which play a fundamental part of our socio economic fabric.