MOYLE councillors have welcomed a decision by Roads Service not to agree to the abandonment of an area at ‘Marconi Cottage’ near Ballycastle.
The potential abandonment had created huge debate and concernswere expressed that a public-right-of-way could be denied to both locals and tourists seeking to get to areas like Fair Head.
But now, in a letter to Ulster Unionist councillor Joan Baird, Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy, said Roads Service has decided against abandonment.
Mr Kennedy’s letter said: ‘I should clarify that the request for the abandonment was initiated by the developer of the former ‘Marconi’s Cottage’ and not by my Department’s Roads Service. While agreeing in principle to consider facilitating an abandonment process, Roads Service officials emphasised in discussions with the agents that this would be subject to the presentation of the developer’s proposals to Moyle District Council and, in particular, reaching a satisfactory agreement on the rights of pedestrian access to the foreshore to the east of 40 Carrickmore Road.
‘The onus was on the developer to convince the Council, and others, of the merits of the request for abandonment and clearly based on the Council’s decision to reject the request at its recent meeting their efforts have been unsuccessful.
‘In these circumstances, Roads Service has decided not to facilitate the developer’s request. Additionally, Roads Service officials propose to meet with the developer, or his agents, to address the issue of the unapproved work carried out on the public road,’ said the letter.
Cllr Baird has welcomed the developments.
She told the Times: “This is great news for the Council and for the citizens of the District and tourists that this important path to Fair Head is kept open. I am delighted that this has happened and it reinforces the position of Council. It is important that we keep our coastal routes open to the public.”