Councillors welcome streetlight repairs

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Local councillors concerned about Ballycarry’s faulty streetlights have welcomed the DRD’s allocation of £5.2million towards repairs.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said that the money, which was allocated in the January Monitoring round, would enable streetlight repairs to start immediately.

Local councillors told The Times that the decision would come as a relief to Ballycarry residents, who had expressed safety concerns over faulty streetlights in the village.

Welcoming the repairs, DUP Councillors Paul Reid and Gregg McKeen called on Transport NI to urgently address the lack of street lighting in Ballycarry and the risk this is causing to residents regarding security and potential increases in crime.

The Councillors added that there is now no reason for any further delay in repairs.

However, while welcoming the allocation of funds to clear the backlog of streetlight repairs, MLA Roy Beggs accused Finance Minister Simon Hamilton of mismanagement of public funds.

Mr Beggs stated: “I have received many complaints from constituents who were concerned that their street lights were not being repaired. Despite being aware of the current budget allocation from Westminster, the Finance Minister allocated funds but then, at the end of July, clawed back funds when much had already been committed. This resulted in repairs coming to a sudden end and pensioners in parts of Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and Larne having to wait months for the repair of street lights. Many others await repair today.

“The Minister, Danny Kennedy MLA, asked for return of funds for street lighting repairs in the October monitoring round, but he has only received funding now. It is clear that this money was available during this financial year so why has Simon Hamilton MLA only allocated it now rather than when it was first requested in October? The public have had to face unnecessary inconvenience over the last number of months.

“I am pleased that within hours of the funding being released, with the help of local contractors, street light repairs were already underway. I hope that the backlog of faulty street lights will now be swiftly repaired.”

Mr Beggs and local Councillor Mark Mckinty also raised concerns over speeding in Ballycarry, and are lobbying Transport NI for improved signage and traffic calming measures such as rumble strips.

The elected representatives said that increased highlighting of speed restrictions to curb speeding motorists could be expected soon.