Northern Ireland

Co Down park & ride approved next to north’s ‘most dangerous level crossing’

Moira train station.
Moira train station.

A Co Down park and ride next to the “most dangerous level crossing anywhere in Northern Ireland” has been approved.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s planning committee unanimously voted in favour of the Translink application on Monday, following a three-hour meeting.

A report provided to the committee showed that Translink, working with its “strategic partner” the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), “deliberately” kept the parking spaces low at 465 lots, so as not to trigger a traffic increase policy requiring the upgrade of the nearby A26 junction with Station Road.

A spokesperson for the Translink application said in chambers: “This park and ride design was put forward due to very serious dangers for pedestrians.

“There is no safe access at this time across to the train station, quite simply the safety concern overshadows everything else. This is a top priority for Translink and DfI”.

The spokesperson added: “Our strategic partner, DfI has been in on this from its inception with an early decision to limit capacity for less impact on the road (A26) junction.

“This is the most dangerous level crossing anywhere in Northern Ireland on the Translink network.

“There will be an enhanced drop off as well, as at the moment it is absolute mayhem in the morning with school children in the area.”

Concerns were raised by councillors over a second “pocket road” junction being used as an “illegal right turn”.

Committee chairperson, Alliance councillor Martin Gregg, said that DfI had provided him with what he says is a “commitment” to review the traffic and safety features of the pocket road.

After the committee went into confidential session for legal advice, a vote was taken with all councillors in favour of the application.

A representative of a private developer who had put forward a rival application for a park and ride facility in Moira has said they have been instructed to submit an application to Planning Appeals Commission, and is “considering options, including judicial review, for the Translink application”.