Councillor calls for improved lighting at Lagan Towpath to help people feel safer

A Lisburn and Castlereagh councillor is calling on the Department for Infrastructure to do more to help people feel safer whilst out at night on the popular Lagan Towpath.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:36 am
River Lagan towpath. Picture By: Aidan O'Reilly, Pacemaker Press

Cllr Sorcha Eastwood said that a spike in anti-social behaviour on the towpath had sparked residents’ calls for more to be done to tackle the issue.

The Alliance elected representative also said one of the main issues raised was that lots of people were still wanting to use the towpath in the winter months but felt “unsafe to do so”.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Eastwood called on the DfI to carry out a public consultation on lighting and widening of the Lagan Towpath and Blaris Greenway.

She said: “A number of people have asked me about how we can improve the towpath.

“One of the issues mentioned by lots of people was still wanting to use the towpath in the winter months but that it was dark or that you didn’t feel safe or that accessibility could be improved.

“To that end, I have written to the Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, asking for a public consultation to be held on lighting and widening the Lagan Towpath & Blaris Greenway similar to that of the current consultation on the Comber Greenway.”

The Department said there were currently no plans to improve lighting on the Lagan towpath, while widening of the path was “under consideration”.

A spokesperson said: “A Lagan Blueway Feasibility Study was undertaken in 2019/20 with a range of recommendations for improvements to the Lagan towpath including widening. These proposals are currently under consideration.

“The public consultation being undertaken in respect of lighting the Comber Greenway closes on September 30th. Thereafter a decision will be taken as to whether lighting should be installed.

“If a decision were to be made to install lighting, this would be done as a pilot exercise to enable the Department to assess what benefits were delivered.

“Consideration of lighting either the Lagan towpath or the Blaris Greenway would not be undertaken until completion of the Comber Greenway pilot.”