Motorway services site concerns remain

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson has said he remains concerned about the impact the service station under construction on the M1 at Lisburn will have on local residents.

The company behind the scheme, Petrogas Group Ltd, was given permission to extend their site in the Sandy Lane area of Hillhall this week.

However, Mr Donaldson said he will be meeting with the company to ensure they keep the impact on local residents to an absolute minimum.

““Whilst undoubtedly the developers will feel they are providing an important amenity for road users on one of our busiest stretches of motorway, they also have to think of the rights and well-being of local residents,” said Mr Donaldson.

“I continue to have concerns about the impact this will have on those who live nearby.

“It is absolutely critical that the company take reasonable measures to mitigate the noise, potential pollution and physical impact this service station will have on residents.”

He continued: “I hope to meet with the developers at some stage to discuss these matters and if the developer is going to have a proper corporate social responsibility, I hope they will reach out to local residents to alleviate their concerns.”

Various companies have sought to secure permission for the site over the years, with Petrogas Group Ltd, who currently operate all the motorway service areas on the island of Ireland under the Applegreen brand, finally being granted permission to construct M1 service stations in 2012 by the Planning Appeals Commission, much to the dismay of some Drumbeg residents, who have been fighting against plans for the site for over two decades.

Late last year the company then applied to extend the site, which further outraged these local residents.

When the application to expand the site was submitted, one of the residents, Mr Ian Farris, who has campaigned against applications for the site for some twenty years, said there were serious concerns about the increased impact, not only on residents, but on the environment, if the site was expanded.

“Our main concerns are the increase in light and noise pollution created by the site,” he said. “We are also concerned about the impact on wildlife. There is evidence that there are badgers, bats and buzzards in the area.”

Despite objections, the application to extend the size of the site was given the go ahead by the Planning Service at this week’s meeting of Lisburn City Council’s Planning Committee.