Residents up in arms over planned Hospital Road-Crevenagh Road ‘link’ route

Thursday, 6 April 2017

RESIDENTS of the Hospital Road area and surrounding estates - for the most part - had no major problem with the development of lands off the current pedestrian-only Winters Lane, Omagh, for housing - but the idea of a 'link road' between Crevenagh Road and Hospital Road through existing housing areas was strongly opposed.

That was the considered opinion of locals who attended a public consultation event which took place on Thursday afternoon last in the Strule Arts Centre to examine new proposals for a major housing development on zoned lands opposite the Crevenagh Park and Share facility.

Several said they were worried about safety issues, traffic congestion and access.

Local businessman, Wilbur McLean of McLean's Foodstore and Hot Foods Carry Out, said he was very concerned at the potential for danger that the proposed road contained.

"I think the housing development is okay within itself, but I don't want a through road. It would be very dangerous, as well as being detrimental to my own business. Not only would it be dangerous for people crossing the road or driving up and down, it would be dangerous for the children and the elderly.

"There are ramps on it at the minute which will slow traffic down but we've noticed boy racers coming down this road and any increase in this kind of traffic would make it a complete nightmare," he said.

Mr McLean said he could understand why so many locals were concerned.

"99.9 percent of the residents are against it. It would make it just a race track. They wouldn't be using the roundabout down at Campsie, because this road would end up turning into a short cut from Hospital Road to Crevenagh Road and be a complete disaster."

He added: "It's called Winters Lane - not Winters Motorway for a reason."

Another local resident, Joe McMahon, said he wasn't against the hosing development either but the road did cause him major concerns.


"These areas are quiet residential developments and the existing road from the Hospital Road into our homes is not designed to cope with the increased traffic, including large lorries, which we fear would result from that through-road.

He also stressed the safety of everyone concerned and warned that any development of the proposed road would lead to accidents.

"Many senior citizens live around here and the volume of traffic is quite low at the moment and we don't want this stretch to become a rat-run. These plans should be adapted to facilitate a pedestrian link which would allow people in the new houses access the shop and other premises on the Hospital Road," he said.

Mr McMahon said he also had concerns about a burn and a sewer that ran under the existing road and how these would be impacted by any future development

He added like all residents he would be keeping a close eye on proceedings but did stress the developers he talked to said they were taking all residents' concerns on board.

John Long, who also lives in the area affected, said he did not see how a new road could possibly work.


"The traffic is going to be unreal and a danger to residents if it goes ahead. The extra traffic will jam everything up. A public walkway joining the road to service the planned new houses with the current road leading onto the main Hospital Road would more than suffice," he said.

He added he, too, would be keeping an eye on developments and a meeting was going to be organised in the coming days to further examine all aspects of the proposal.

"I would like to think the developers would listen to all concerns and take them on board. According to them the roads authority is pushing for this road, but there's absolutely no call for such a through road here," he said.

Mr Long also expressed concern that there wasn't adequate notification for the public consultation event saying the letters that were sent out were written on the 28th, sent out on the 29th and the meeting was on the 30th.


"I know a few residents that couldn't get off work to go to and and were more than a wee bit annoyed," he said.

Fermanagh and Omagh district councillor, Chris Smith, who also attended the consultation said the message was loud and clear from the residents - no through road.

"They are extremely concerned with the idea of the current Winters Lane connecting to the Crevenagh Road - doing so would create a lot of through traffic around McLean's shop and may even be used as a rat run for people on the Hospital Road to get onto the Crevenagh roundabout.

"I was astounded by the number of people who were at the event and would like to thank the developers for holding the meeting. They didn't have to do it, but I believe it was useful both for the residents to air their views and the developers to understand local concerns.

"At the public meeting we had residents who have lived in the area for years. Their knowledge of the Hospital Road areas and their insight into the consequences of any development is valuable."

He added he understood that the developers would hold another meeting with planners and Road Service before submitting their planning application. "By then I hope amongst the residents, planners, councillors and developers, we can come up with a solution which is acceptable to everyone," he said.


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