Tuesday 17 October 2017 12:32:16 PM

Sinn Féin Councillor Willie Clarke Calls for Improved Roadway to Greenhill YMCA in Newcastle
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NEWCASTLE  Sinn Féin Councillor Willie Clarke has called on the Forestry  Service to carry out the necessary repairs to the road within the short section of roadway between Down District Council section of lane way and Greenhill YMCA Donard Forest Newcastle.

Councillor Clarke  said: “The neglect in this area is evident, there are pot holes, uneven surfaces, potential danger for members of the public, particularly to those unfamiliar with the area. This has been an on-going difficulty for many years but I am concerned that the issue has increased considerably.

“Many of the large potholes on the lower section are now so deep they are impassable for cars; the upper Section has a deep gully running down the middle of it caused by rainwater escaping from Forest Service drainage systems”.

“I have brought this to the attention of the local Forestry Service representative, but am told that it is not a priority. I appreciate the budgetary constraints on all departments at this time but surely the long term neglect of any road should make it a priority. Clearly the condition of the short section of roadway leased by Forestry Service  is a significant undesirable  factor to tourists and local people intending to visit the forest and the Mourne’s.

“I have met with YMCA staff in regards to this issue, and they  have informed me that guests who visit Greenhill YMCA in Newcastle  on foot, often after dark, are having increased difficulties negotiating the deep and often water filled potholes. Several have reported tripping and the risk of injury is high.

“The YMCA have had numerous complaints and concerns, raised by visitors, of the need to steer close to the edge of a significant and unprotected drop, to avoid the deep potholes, and prevent damage to their vehicles,”  added Councillor  Willie Clarke.

“In past years Forest Service has used their grading machine to perform a very effective and relatively simple repair to the lane way, however, a long-term solution is required. There needs to be a regular maintenance programme to include adequate drainage provision. If Forestry Service are to deliver on there Recreation Strategy, then the necessary financial resources are needed.  I will be raising this issue with DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill.”