Area seeks fair share of rural roads cash

MLA  Jenny Palmer
MLA Jenny Palmer

Lagan Valley should have its fair share of cash for ailing rural roads in the area.

That’s according to local MLA and Ulster Unionist infrastructure spokesperson Jenny Palmer, following Chris Hazzard’s announcement of a £10m rural roads improvement fund.

Mrs Palmer called onthe Sinn Fein infrastructure minister for “a cast iron guarantee” that the constituency would get its fair share of the £10m cash injection, though she dismissed the sum as “only a drop in a pothole” and one that could easily be accounted for by Lagan Valley alone.

“However,” she said, “we need a co-ordinated approach to investment in our roads infrastructure and not the current piecemeal approach.

“It is likely that this scheme will only repair 7.5k sq across Northern Ireland.”

Announcing the investment, Mr Hazzard said: “I am delighted to announce that rural communities will benefit from a £10million road improvement package to stop deterioration and repair severe defects on their local road network.

“The improvements will target around 1,000 rural roads, repairing many short lengths of road (20-50m) in particularly poor condition, together with a number of longer resurfacing schemes of around one kilometre.”

Mrs Palmer said: “The fact that the Minister has listened to my lobbying on this vital rural roads issue is proof of the value of the Ulster Unionist Party’s decision to form an official Opposition in the Assembly and hold the Executive to account for all decisions.”

The Ulster Unionist claimed, meanwhile, thatthere had been “an alarming decrease” in verge cutting since the former Roads Service became part of the new Stormont Department for Infrastructure.