Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bits and Pieces on Crawfordsburn and Helen's Bay

Crawfordsburn Country Club

How very sad to see the contents of Country Club being sold at auction. Even the very floorboards were lifted and doors removed. The furniture and fittings all fell under the hammer. I have no problem with furniture being auctioned off but when it comes to pure vandalism on such a scale this fine and honourable Club House must have reached an all time low in it’s history.

We still wait what will be happening to the site and rumours abound. What ever happens the new owners must be very aware that many are keeping a watchful eye on any proposals put forward. Following the stinging attack on the Planning Service by the Management Board and the reversal of the Planning Service opinion, I think the Planning Service will also be very mindful of the village strength of feeling.

We await the outcome, whatever it will be, the message is loud and clear any proposal must be in character with the village and consideration must be taken of the views of residents.

The Fence

Another sage of bureaucracy is that of the fence which has been erected behind Chimera Wood facing onto to the Country park.

The residents acted as ‘keepers’ of the Park, they kept a careful eye on what was happening behind them. The collected rubbish from the pathway and kept the area clear and tidy.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency in their wisdom declared that they were erecting a fence to protect their property against the residents, who might e.g. fall when moving from their property onto the Park property and submit a claim. The residents were accused of stealing land. They were accused of dumping rubbish.

A small group of residents along with myself met with representatives from NIEA. I am well used to meetings and have sat through many where my patience has been sorely tried. However, at this meeting I think the civil servants forgot those two words – civil and that they were servants of the public.

The fence has been erected taking up time, effort, and a large amount of taxpayer’s money and to what end? A good question… I am still waiting for a common sense answer. Petty bureaucracy – petty with a capital P.

Bayburn Trail

For several years now I have been working with the Council to have Bayburn Trail signs erected with the guidance of Robin Masefield. It has had a few hiccups, with plans being lost and tracking down lost details.

However, all that is past and I am very pleased to see 2 of the signs erected. My thanks to the graphic department of the Council and I know that many will gain pleasure from using the signs as a guide to what we call the Bayburn Trail.

Crawfordsburn Primary School

The dangerous traffic situation at the Primary School was something I held a meeting about some 12 – 15 years ago. I have over that period of time had meetings with the Road Service, the South Eastern Education and Library Board, the PSNI – you name it I have had everyone I could think of visit the site and try to find an answer.

Last year I invited the Chief Executive from the South Eastern Education and Library Board to the school and along with the Headmistress, Mrs Moffett we watched the traffic chaos during the morning drop off.

Somehow we struck it lucky and there was actually some spare money in the SEELB budget. The outcome, things moved quickly, plans were drawn up and hey presto during the summer we have a new entrance and exit. Unfortunately the work did not begin just as quickly as we would have hope and things were somewhat difficult for a few weeks in September.

I think everyone will agree that the new internal drop off for parents and buses is much safer. There are still a few minor issues to be completed but it just shows keep trying and somewhere along the line things come right.


In the October Planning Schedule, the Crawfordsburn Inn application for the 3-storey car park and 6 new bedrooms – had 220 objections.

15 – 19 Seahill Road Craigavad - demolition of existing dwellings and erection of 20 units. had 189 objections

19 and 21 Meadow Park – demolition of existing detached dwellings and garages and replace with 5 detached dwellings – had 67 objections

These three applications were deferred for further consideration and all three have returned with the opinion of Approval. Makes me wonder, what’s important in decisions Planning Service dictate or resident’s opinion.

Also contained within the schedule were 2 items seeking retrospective permission – guess what – permission was granted. So build what you like and then ask permission – I am told by the planning Service that it is at the owner’s own risk. But, looking at the odds other than a letter telling you that you really should not have done this, obviously it is worth the ‘risk’