Backtrack By Department On Strangford Fencing Issue
The Department of Regional Development have reversed a decision to erect a two-metre high fence at the coastal village harbours of Portaferry and Strangford.
Sinn Féin political adviser for Chris Hazzard MLA, Naomi Bailie, said the news was “welcome but not before time”.
She added: “The Minister has confirmed that under certain circumstances and with the agreement of land owners, security requirements for Strangford and Portaferry Harbours can be met using the existing fenced off areas, without the need for any new permanent or temporary fencing. I’m delighted that the Department have reversed their intrusive plans to erect fencing at both harbours
“Both villages on the shores of Stranhfoprd Lough are charming and inviting and we want to keep it that way. These proposals would have had a devastating impact on the image of the Lough and on local residential and environmental amenity.
“Further discussions are needed by the Department to ensure they gain the required land consent and the co-operation of visiting vessels. Any cruise ship passengers arriving would have to pass through a restricted area on the Strangford Pontoon or Portaferry Marina. On occasions when large numbers are visiting then a restricted area may be created on a temporary basis.”
The Chaiman of Strangford Community Association, Diarmuid Riordan, said: “I would like to thank Naomi Bailie and Chris Hazzard MLA for their support and for the representations they have made on our behlaf in relation to this latest proposal by the DRD.
“If this fence construction has done one thing, it has united the residents of Strangfrord and further afield, in their opposition to any more ugly developments in our picturesque little village.
“We are also impressd by the way all of our local politicians have contributed and have done their best to have the impact of the fence on Strangford minimised. We are now hopeful that with the cooperation of the planning authorities, we may find a way to facilitate passengers from cruise vessels to be checked in order to meet EU requirements with minimum impact on the village.”