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Lindsay Hill bridge project shelved

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

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THE decision to turn down a planning application for a bridge to connect Clare's Avenue with a proposed housing development at Lindsay Hill has been met with relief by residents.
Rathfriland based developer Calmor Developments Limited lodged the application for the development, comprising of 14 units of social housing.
And whilst there seems to have been no difficulty with the plans to build the house among locals, the prospect of the 24 foot wide bridge was met with stern opposition.
One of the biggest fears centred on the increased traffic that the proposed bridge would bring to an already busy street, which currently ends in a cul-de-sac where children have traditionally played and still play.
The steps at Lindsay Hill have also developed a reputation for anti-social behaviour.
There had been a worry that the erection of a bridge, which would have been built over these steps, would have exacerbated this problem by effectively providing a "roof" for people to congregate under.
At a planning meeting held last Wednesday, the application was ultimately recommended for refusal on the grounds that Lindsay Hill is of historical importance.
Mr Jim Flynn, who is himself a St Clare's Avenue resident, spoke at the meeting and he told us that "everybody is delighted."
“People called to my door and I saw them in the street - they were nearly hugging me," said Mr Flynn.
“I think the hill dates from the 1600s. I read out at the meeting that there's people from Canada, America, Australia, France and England who have memories of it.
“People whose grannies lived in St Clare's Avenue or St Patrick's Avenue.
“I thought we were on a beaten docket - everybody was saying to me - they're going ahead with it."
SDLP councillor Gary Stokes, and Sinn Fein councilllor Liz Kimmins both also spoke at the meeting in support of the residents.
Mr Stokes commended those people from the area, whose efforts were instrumental in having the application halted.
“There's good community activism there," said Mr Stokes.
“I have to say that I am very impressed, and I'm delighted for them actually because they have put a lot of time and effort into it.
“In fairness, the members [of the council] took on board the historical nature of Lindsay Hill and overturned it on that basis.
“It was a victory for the local residents, and I think it shows the difference from in times gone by.
“In the years before the new council was set up back in 2015 - planning moved over from the Department of the Environment - that decision would have been made by officers in Craigavon.
“Now the final decision, because of the objections - it had to go to the planning committee and they were able to overturn it."
Ms Kimmins, meanwhile, stressed that the Lindsay Hill area should be protected as "an asset to the district."
“There are loads of concerns really, but the main things are the historical grounds - it really would decimate the area," insisted Ms Kimmins.
“We were saying that Lindsay Hill is listed. It should be treated as an asset to the district.
“No-one is objecting to the housing, but it is the bridge - and it would totally ruin the whole area.
“Whilst we agree that there is a need for social housing - I just think the bridge would be inappropriate at that site.
“If there had of been another access, I think there would have been no issue.
“The residents are directly impacted, but there are not too many in Newry who don't know about Lindsay Hill, and that whole area."

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