‘No need for £100m A8

PJ Maybin. INLT 21-399-PR
PJ Maybin. INLT 21-399-PR

A LARNE man has questioned the need for a dual carriageway beside his family home.

PJ Maybin, 79, stands to lose a large part of his garden when the £100 million A8 scheme announced by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy is completed. The Belfast Road man will also be cut off from property he owns on the other side of what is presently a single carriageway section of the main link road.

The farmer and haulier has consistently opposed the plan to bring a new lane of harbour-bound traffic through what is now his lawn and an adjoining field. The land is to be vested, together with a 1.2-acre site next to Mr Maybin’s home, where the road contractor will have a temporary works site.

Pointing from his living room at the A8, which will be considerably closer to the place he has called home for 72 years, Mr Maybin said: “All you hear about is the politicians and everybody else going on about how great it will be to have a new road. Their only concern is getting people from Larne to Belfast, but who thinks about the people who will have to live with it?

“I’d like the minister to come and see it for himself and tell me why there is even a need for a dual carriageway here.”

In one hour on Friday morning, only a few heavy goods vehicles passed by Mr Maybin’s home (probably not more than two dozen) and the traffic volume was generally low.

Mr Maybin said: “There isn’t the same number of lorries on the road as there was when the dual carriageway was being talked about. They’ve lost six boats at Larne Harbour since then and all the Stena and Seatruck business is in Belfast now.

“There is no need for a dual carriageway now. If you took away the Asda, the Argos and the FG Wilson lorries there would be nothing left.”

Mr Maybin, who said has “never had any word about compensation”, will see his neat garden, surrounded by well-tended Leylandii hedges virtually cut in half. It is the last thing an older couple want to see happening at their family home, but the loss of property value, the view and the increased traffic noise is not the end of it.

At present, Mr Maybin can cross the Belfast Road on his tractor to access a meadow on the other side. When the road is dualled, he will have no way across the central reserve.

“They talk about getting traffic moving quicker, but I’m going to have to drive the tractor from here to a new roundabout near the quarry and all the way back up again to get to the meadow right in front of the house.

“When I’m leaving it, I’ll have to drive as far as Ballygowan Bridge before I can head back for home,” explained the pensioner, who claimed the planned dual carriageway alignment is the easier option for DRD.

“They’re bringing the new carriageway along this side of the road, where most of the houses are, because there is soft ground on the other side. That’s why the houses are here, on the harder ground, but for the politicians it’s all about money and there’s no thought for the people who live here. If they were talking about putting a road through their properties there would be something done about it,” he claimed.