Monday 11 December 2017 05:54:35 AM

MP Welcomes Decision To Halt Security Fence At Strangford
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SOUTH Down MP Margaret Ritchie has welcomed a decision by the Minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy that no further work is to be undertaken on the planning application to erect a permanent fence around Strangford Quay, and this matter has been put on hold.

Ms Ritchie said: “This is a victory for the people of Strangford. Following the Minister’s decision to halt any planning application, the proposal for installing a fence at this location should be confined to the rubbish bin once and for all.

Pictured on the quayside at Strangford Harbour are local residents Joan Lundy, Roisin Curran, and Clifford McLenaghan with Soiuth Down MP Margaret Ritchie, Dairmuid Riordon, and Councillor Gareth Sharvin.

Pictured on the quayside at Strangford Harbour are local residents Joan Lundy, Roisin Curran, and Clifford McLenaghan with South Down MP Margaret Ritchie, Diarmuid Riordan, and Councillor Gareth Sharvin.

“I have made representations to the Transport Minister in Westminster and requested an urgent meeting to discuss viable alternatives.

“Other options now need to be considered that would not infringe on the rights of local residents and the natural heritage of the area. It is quite clear a proposed fence would have been out of character with the Conservation Area and will impact on the local residential and environmental amenity.

“Any fence proposal would block access to the moorings, and local fishing rights and such a fence would be an infringement of the rights of the community of Strangford. The tourism industry is South Down is important to our local business community.  A more suitable solution to this problem and one that is not detrimental to local residents and the local environment is required, added Ms Ritchie.”

Diarmuid Riordan, Charman of the Strangford Village Committee, said: “I am delighted that the planning application has been put on hold, and we have a meeting scheduled with the Planning Office in Downpatrick next week and will be seeking a complete stop  to the fence proposal.

“There is nothing preventing the DRD from making another proposal if this one is completely withdrawn and making technical improvements to the new proposal.

“It is really complete nonsense to have a fence at the harbour. The need for it stems for EU legislation to have a control to check foreign nationals entering the country. In fact the Strangford ferry should also have such a fence round it if this was the case.

“We are grateful for all the political support we have had and will now be keeping a watchful eye on the situation.”