Muir concerned Craigowen Lodge now an anti social behaviour hot spot

North Down Alliance MLA Andrew Muir has raised concerns over littering and anti-social behaviour issues at historic Craigowen Lodge which is situated right beside the busy A2 Bangor to Belfast Road. 

The historic lodge has been left in a dilapidated state for many years with a tin roof now in place after a fire arising from an earlier arson attempt. The building is presently owned by Clanmill Housing Association after merger of Hearth Housing Association and Clanmil in December 2016. 

Commenting on the issue, Andrew Muir MLA stated, “I received a number of concerning reports from local residents that the land around the Lodge has now become a drinking den left littered with bottles and other paraphernalia. With access relatively easy and boundary walls in disrepair the litter and general disturbance is a threat to wildlife and the local environment and must be tackled without delay. 

I have reported the range of issues both to the Housing Association who own the Lodge and local Police who have assured me that the local Neighbourhood Policing Team have been alerted. These issues demonstrate yet again the risks of leaving properties to decay and develop into hot spots for bad behaviour. I sincerely hope that works to restore the Lodge progress at pace in order to ensure that both the buildng and site is swiftly restored to its former glory.”

Muir and Egan welcome 20mph Schemes for North Down Schools

North Down Alliance representatives Andrew Muir MLA and Councillor Connie Egan have welcomed announcement from the Department of Infrastructure a number of local schools will now receive 20mph part-time speed limit schemes. 

Rathmore Primary School, Bangor, St Malachy's Primary School, Bangor, Donaghadee Primary School, Millisle Primary School, Clandeboye Primary School, Bangor, Priory Integrated College, Holywood, St Patrick's Primary School, Holywood, Sullivan Upper Prep, Holywood (one site, covering 3 schools above) will all receive the speed limit reductions. 

Commenting on the development, Andrew Muir MLA stated “After lots of campaigning by many people, including Schools, Councillor Egan and I, it’s great news a number of North Down Schools will receive these schemes at long last. The tenacity and determination of so many to get schemes is to be commended. North Down was overlooked in the first roll-out to much legitimate annoyance but thankfully progress is now on the horizon. 

I would urge the Department to both swiftly roll these schemes out and urgently consider requests for a third roll out including the numerous schools still in need of temporary 20mph restrictions. Many Principals, teachers and parents have continued to contact me urging that  the Department for Infrastructure rolls the 20mph scheme to their school. Such key road safety measure should really be the norm!” 

Councillor Connie Egan also commented “After campaigning for action, including at Clandeboye Primary School last year, it’s fantastic to see progress with positive announcement now forthcoming. The safety of everyone using our roads, especially those attending school, must be of paramount concern. Those still overlooked must not be forgotten and included in a much needed third round of roll out to ensure every school who wants such a scheme gets it”.

Muir raises A2 safety concerns

Alliance North Down MLA Andrew Muir has raised safety concerns arising from the atrocious nature of the footpath along the A2 Bangor to Belfast Road. 

The overhanging trees and bushes, particularly between Seahill and Whinney Hill, obstruct a significant portion of the footpath alongside the Belfast-bound A2.  The path is frequently used by pedestrians and, due to the lack of safe, segregated infrastructure, cyclists. It runs alongside the busy A2 which has a 50mph speed limit. Mr Muir raised the issue with Department for Infrastructure and local council last year, and has since re-raised it as no action was taken. 

Mr Muir said “It is really disappointing that since I originally contacted the responsible authorities about the issue, access along this stretch of pavement has continued to deteriorate.  This presents a serious danger to the safety of people using the footpath, and those responsible must treat it with the seriousness it deserves”. 

“This stretch of the A2 is one of the busiest roads in the whole county, with cars and HGVs flying past at up to 50mph. For that reason, it needs to be totally clear of obstructing trees and bushes.  Furthermore, in the autumn and winter, this path is frequently covered in leaves, increasing the issue of someone slipping  onto the busy road.” 

“I want the department and the council to work with the relevant landowners and act on this urgently.  I dread to think what could happen if someone accidentally falls or slips due to the poor condition of the footpath.  The authorities must do everything they can to prevent this from happening”

Muir disappointed over Department’s Resurfacing Refusal

North Down Alliance MLA Andrew Muir has stated his disbelief over the Department for Infrastructure's refusal to resurface the roads and footways along Spencer Street in Holywood. The busy street has been in poor repair for years and a heavy volume of traffic has left more recent repair work in tatters.

Commenting on the issue Mr Muir said "I raised this with the Department back in 2019 and the request was refused but I was more hopeful that we would get a more positive response this time around given the shocking state of the surfaces along this stretch. Holywood Primary School is at the top of the street and this generates a huge amount of traffic with parents picking up and dropping of their children, large HGV lorries also go up and down the narrow street putting even further pressure on the already crumbling road surface."

"I was shocked to receive a response stating that although Spencer Street is on the Department's to-do list it is not on the current works programme meaning it is unlikely to be carried out this financial year. Following this response I went back to the Department to ask them if they could provide information on when the street was last resurfaced and statistics on recent traffic intensity. I was bemused when they came back to say that they do not hold historic records of when roads were resurfaced or any recent traffic counts for this stretch of road. I have tabled a formal question to the Minister for Infrastructure in light of this to ascertain what, if any records her Department holds in relation to historical road maintenance and resurfacing. It is impossible for the Department to efficiently keep on top of routine road maintenance without accurate records on when work was last completed and I eagerly await the Minister's response."

"As so many people are aware there is a huge backlog of similar works to be carried out across North Down. I have consistently called on the Infrastructure Minister to prioritise funding and delivery of road resurfacing projects. We need to get the basics right in the first instance and this involves delivering safe usable roads and footpaths for everyone."