REGIONAL development Minister Danny Kennedy visited Larne’s unfinished Lindara development last week to see for himself the progress being made at the site.
Residents at the development have long been lobbying for the infrastructure in the area to be brought up to standard. The company responsible for the development went into administration in 2009, leaving roads, footways, street lighting, storm drains, sewers and manholes incomplete.
But, as previously reported in the Times, builders’ bonds totalling nearly £800,000 will now be cashed in to pay for the installation of utilities at the site. Lindara has the largest value of outstanding roads bonds activated by the Department for Regional Development in the whole of Northern Ireland.
Last Wednesday, Mr Kennedy was shown around the development by officials from Roads Service and NI Water, as well as fellow Ulster Unionist representatives including Councillor Maureen Morrow, Alderman Roy Beggs and East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs Jnr.
Mr Beggs Jnr said the issue of the unfinished groundwork at Lindara has been a “pressing issue” for local residents in recent years.
He added: “Last summer, Roads Service initiated Article 11 of the Street Order to start the process of completing the outstanding work on the roads, footpaths and sewers using the roads bonds which were in place.
“On behalf of many residents who have contacted my Larne office, I have been pushing for a timetable for the work to be completed. When the development is properly finished it can then be adopted for future maintenance by the relevant public authorities, specifically NI Water for the drains and sewers and Roads Service for the streets and pavements.
“This has been a long and at times frustrating process with a lack of visible progress apparent for the residents. That is why I felt it was important to bring the saga to the personal attention of the Minister to try to move the process forward.”
Mr Beggs described the site meeting as “very worthwhile” and is now hopeful that all outstanding works will be completed by early 2013.
He added: “We were advised that there has been considerable recent activity with NI Water spending around £100,000 to repair the sewerage infrastructure after having surveyed around four kilometres worth of underground piping. An unexpected and unexplained delaying factor was the presence of large quantities of concrete which had been poured down several manholes. The good news however, is that the vast majority of the work to the sewers has been completed by NI Water, with only a couple of manholes still to be repaired.
“We have learned that Roads Service will be in a position to issue a works order as soon as NI Water are off site, and that should be within a month at most.
“We pushed very hard for a commitment to a firm timetable and the official finally conceded that all outstanding infrastructure works- sewers, footpaths and street surfacing should be completed by early in the New Year.”
The MLA also feels that the completion of work at Lindara could lead to other potential benefits for the area.
“It opens up the opportunity for the link road between Lindara and Walnut Hollow to finally be connected.
“This will ease traffic congestion on the Killyglen and top of the Linn Road, and also opens up the possibility of bus services being extended into these substantial housing developments,” Mr Beggs concluded.