Hillsborough set to go HGV free

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A delegation met with representatives from TransportNI this week to learn that a proposed weight restriction for Hillsbrough is set to go out to formal consultation.

The scheme will prevent large HGV lorries from driving through the village, with a weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes set to be introduced.

Lagan Valley MLA, Brenda Hale, has spent the last four years campaigning for the introduction of the weight restriction, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Speaking after the meeting with the Roads Minister, Mrs Hale said: “It was a really successful meeting.

“Originally there was going to be an axle restriction but that has been changed to a 7.5 tonne restriction instead.

“There will be absolutely no restriction on lorries servicing farms and shops in the village, it will only impact on large lorries using the village as a rat run.

“There will be formal consultation on the legislation in the next six months and there will be signage advising drivers to use the A49, A1 and M1.

“There are 100 listed buildings in Hillsborough which have Georgian flint foundations. The vibrations from the lorries could seriously undermine the foundations and if they give way, the whole building will be lost.

“Historic Royal Palaces have been very supportive. They are hoping to increase footfall in the village and as they are expecting a lot more pedestrians, public health and safety are of paramount importance.

“This is good news for those living in and visiting the village.”

She also thanked the police for their support on the matter. “The PSNI have said they will robustly police this restriction,” added Mrs Hale.

A spokesperson for Transport NI said: “As part of the informal consultation process, TransportNI officials hosted a meeting with local elected representatives who had expressed an interest in the Department’s proposals to introduce a weight limit in Hillsborough.

“Later this year, TransportNI expects to commence the formal legislative procedure which provides for wider public response.”