Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Muir drives up eCar Charger provision

New Dual eCharger Car Bays at Quay Street, Bangor
I warmly welcome provision of an additional Electric Car Charging Bay at the popular Quay Street charging point in Bangor after campaigning for an extra parking space in light of the high demand experienced for the charger.

For over a year I have been lobbying the Department for Infrastructure to provide an additional eCar Charging Bay at Quay Street, Bangor after users contacted me detailing the demand. Despite the request being initially denied, together I preserved with the support of many users and am delighted to see two dedicated eCar Parking Bays now provided.

With the Quay Street eCar charging point already offering ability to charge two vehicles at once but only one dedicated eCar Parking Bay previously provided the frustration of users was obvious with many previously unable to charge up due to the other bays being occupied by conventional vehicles. Through the dogged determination of the users concerned to outline the economic and environmental benefits involved together we have achieved a small but important step towards a greener and cleaner future. I look forward to exploring other opportunities to boost eCar Charger provision across the Borough.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Fighting to end Holywood building collapse saga

1 Stewart's Place, Holywood with road partially closed
I have been continuing the fight to end the saga associated with collapse of 1 Stewart’s Place building in Holywood with the nearby road remaining partially closed for nearly five months following the collapse of the historic building.

Following initial collapse on 21 July 2016 a saga has unfolded with the Bangor Road fully closed for six weeks only to be replaced by traffic lights which still remain in place today, impeding access to Holywood Town Centre. Whilst one side of the building has been shored up the other side remains fully exposed to the elements with further bits of masonry falling off in recent days.

After endless delays and hollow promises of action I was sadly left with no other option but to bring a motion to our local Council calling for action. It is extremely frustrating to witness no further progress on the issue despite Ards and North Down having new powers to intervene. Recent news that the building is now infested with rats who have been scurrying into local homes merely adds fuel to the sense of anger felt by many, compounded by news nothing seemingly can be done to deal with the rat infestation because the building is considered unsafe. Local residents and businesses have suffered for too long with this enduring saga which is fast becoming a scandal and byword for inaction, buck passing and shrugging of shoulders.

I was therefore glad to receive unanimous support from the Council’s Environment Committee on Wednesday 7 December 2016 for my Motion calling upon officers to bring back a range of options to rectify the situation and urging Transport NI to use their influence to end the owners right to keep the road partially closed.

Whilst full responsibility remains with the building’s owner who has shamefully neglected to sort the issue and inflicted great inconvenience upon Holywood without seemingly a shred of embarrassment Council’s responsibility in relation to this matter must extend beyond mere merely Health and Safety duties. With new powers to serve Urgent Works Notices Ards and North Down Borough Council has the tools available and should not stand idly by whilst trade is damaged, visitors turn away from Holywood Town Centre during the busy Christmas Shopping Season, rats infiltrate local people’s homes and a Listed Building slowly disintegrates.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Muir welcomes Holywood resurfacing commitment

I welcome commitment from Transport NI to resurface Holywood High Street but am disappointed at delay taken and limited scope of the works.

Nearly one year after the new Public Realm works were officially signed off involving new pavements, benches and associated street furniture the commitment by Transport NI to finish the job and resurface Holywood High Street by end of March 2017 is welcome but long overdue.

In response to my most recent enquiry as to when the resurfacing would take place I was advised ‘The resurfacing of High Street, Holywood from the Maypole to Downshire Road is a priority scheme and has been included in this year’s programme’

With remaining roads around Holywood Town Centre also in dire state I have therefore submitted a further enquiry concerning when other associated roads will be resurfaced and hope plans will be put in place to finish the wider job as soon as possible.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Success with Spafield carpark lighting - Muir

I welcome a commitment from Ards and North Down Borough Council to provide lighting in Holywood's Spafield public carpark.

Spafield is one of the few free carparks in Holywood and so is very popular. Unfortunately with the dark nights the lack of lighting can result in pedestrians being put at risk from motorists. Following representations made to me I raised this with the Council, and am pleased to have received a positive result for users, whether sportspeople using the nearby 3G pitch, shoppers and business people, Parishioners attending St Colmcille’s Church, visitors to Spafield and Loughview Folds or Sullivan school parents and students.

I have a commitment from the Council that lighting will be installed at Spafield before the end of this financial year. This is very welcome and I appreciate the speedy response from Council.