A delegation from Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has met with the Minister for Regional Development, Mr Danny Kennedy MLA, to press him on the need for the proposed M1/Knockmore Link Road.
Given the successful completion of the Lisburn North Feeder Road, the meeting afforded the council delegation the opportunity to put forward its view that the M1/Knockmore Link Road is the single missing link in the road network infrastructure around Lisburn.
The delivery of this road would open the West Lisburn area for development in predetermined zoned lands, opening the area to investment and growth. Earlier this year the council completed the West Lisburn Development Framework which sets out the overarching Vision and Strategy for the West Lisburn area.
Following local government reorganisation, the council has attained localised planning powers. Coupled with commercial opportunities, the delivery of the Link Road would provide for greater inward investment in West Lisburn; and will greatly improve vehicle traffic management in the Knockmore area.
The council delegation included the vice-chairmen from the Council’s Development Committee and the Chairman of the Planning Committee. Alderman Jim Dillon, Vice-Chairman of the Development Committee, said: “We welcome the meeting with Minister Kennedy. The West Lisburn area, which is poised for development, includes Maze Long Kesh, Blaris, Knockmore, Lissue and Sprucefield.
“Studies determine that the provision of the M1/Knockmore Link Road is the single most important piece of infrastructure, that if developed, will unlock the current status quo in West Lisburn.
“In addition, independent economic forecasts suggest that within four years the Blaris, Knockmore and Maze Long Kesh plan zonings will create or sustain upwards of 3,396 jobs and potentially would need 101 acres of development land.
“Therefore this new road is critical to economic progress.”
Alderman Michael Henderson, Chairman of the Planning Committee, also welcomed the Ministerial meeting and said: “Planning is now controlled locally by Councils and the Council wishes to shape its new area to include investment need and suitability.
“We advised the Minister that the M1/Knockmore Road will provide the last piece of the framework, required for planning opportunities. Forecasts predict that employment figures would rise significantly to 4,371 jobs over a ten year period and 6,350 jobs over a twenty year period.
“Growth and investment in Lisburn & Castlereagh for the good of the area is one of the Council’s responsibilities and the M1/Knockmore Road has been identified as a strategic requirement by the Council.”
Whilst the Road’s development has been categorized as being developed through private investment, the Council’s view is that this is not realistic and its non-progression will see other private investment being stifled.
A number of areas with regard to public/private sector investment and possible partnership approaches were also discussed.
The delegation from Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council extended thanks to the Minister.