Thursday, 16 October 2014

Full Steam ahead for Cultra Railway Station Restoration

My Alliance colleague Councillor Larry Thompson and I have welcomed the decision by Planners to approve plans to restore the historic Cultra Railway Station building in Holywood.

Cllr Thompson and I at Cultra Rail Station
Councillor Thompson and I have been leading the campaign to Save Cultra Station along with other interested people and organisations such as Holywood Conservation Group. The campaign was formed in 2011 when the listed building fell into a perilous state and was put on the market by Ireland’s bad bank NAMA.

Commenting on the development, Councillor Thompson stated “After a long campaign I am delighted to see restoration of this amazing building on the right track. Cultra Station House was designed in the style of Charles Lanyon, built in circa 1863 and was listed in 2007 when threated with demolition. This unique building has long been on the Built Heritage at Risk Register but will hopefully soon be restored and rejuvenated as two apartments.  The two storey portion of the property was originally living accommodation for the station master and the single storey portion was the area for waiting, ticket collection and other areas associated with a railway station.”

Cultra Station, Holywood
The planning approval was endorsed by North Down Borough Council on Tuesday 14 October 2014 and whilst I remain very disappointed planning approval took over sixteen months I am thankful to all those who helped us achieve this important milestone and for the patience of the developer. Whether it was Dominic Hannigan TD who helped secure sale by NAMA in late 2012, successive Environment Ministers Alex Attwood and Mark H Durkan or the many interested people and organisations, together we have delivered a success story to be proud of. With planning approval now granted we are finally all on-board and ready to travel forward at full steam towards restoration.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Muir reveals Kinnegar sewage work to get underway

Cllr Muir at polluted Kinnegar Lagoons
I can reveal that work will begin soon to tackle the on-going sewage pollution and odour problems in the Kinnegar area.

Work will begin on October 6, as part of an 18-month contract to tackle a number of problems in the area. I previously secured over £3m funding for NI Water to resolve the problem.

This is fantastic news for everyone living in the surrounding vicinity that is constantly plagued by odour problems.  The much-needed scheme is long overdue and the news that work is finally about to get underway will bring great relief for many.

I appreciate that NI water have in the past attempted to alleviate the problem by managing tidal flows and have had limited success.  With the odour frequently returning it is clear short-term solutions are no-longer enough to tackle this significant problem.

Holywood has some great open spaces for its residents
and visitors to enjoy, yet it is frustrating that often what could be a good experience is overshadowed by the foul smell.  I hope at the end of this latest round of work the problem will be permanently solved.