From the pages of the Down Recorder, 29th August 2001

From the pages of the Down Recorder, 29th August 2001

25 August 2021

DOWNPATRICK – Local politicians were last night asked to oppose plans by British Telecom to erect a telecommunications mast close to three Downpatrick schools.

The call was issued by a local councillor, Mrs Ann Trainor, who want the local authority to block plans to erect a mast on top of its digital exchange in Church Street.

Mrs Trainor was hoping to secure cross-party support for her call during a meeting of the council’s Cultural and Economic Development Committee last night.

Speculation had been mounting that the plan to locate a mast on top of the Church Street exchange, close to Down High School, Downpatrick Primary School and Downpatrick Nursery School, had been aborted. 

However, it emerged during a site meeting last week that British Telecom is pressing ahead with its plan, news that has concerned Mrs Trainor.

She said the exchange should not become a base “for yet another mobile mast” and revealed British Telecom is also hoping to locate other masts at the Ballydugan Road industrial estate and at the Ballynahinch Road on the outskirts of the town.

CASTLEWELLAN – A bid by local Republicans to erect a monument to dead IRA terrorists at Castlewellan’s Lower Square has been thwarted by a High Court judge.

An injunction putting a stop to illegal work at the site of the proposed Republican monument was served by a Down Council representative on Saturday morning.

The move came as a number of local Republicans, including Sinn Fen Assembly member Mick Murphy, attempted to start work on the memorial which has not yet been granted planning permission.

Planners are currently considering the proposal and have been advised by the council to seek advice from the Equality Commission amid fears that it may be perceived as offensive to one section of the community,

The Commission is also being asked to advise planners in relation to a similar monument proposed for Dunleath Park in Downpatrick.

KILLYLEAGH – The Housing Executive has officially opened its new sub-office in Killyleagh.

The doors of the new office, which is located at the Bridge Community Centre, will be open every Wednesday morning between 10.30am and noon and provide a service for people in the Killyleagh and Shrigley areas.

Housing officials say the new office will complement the day-to-day role of the existing district office in Downpatrick and explained its main purpose is to make the Housing Executive more readily accessible to the people who live in the area. 

They are also confident the new sub-office will be particularly valuable to tenants whose homes will be involved in future improvement programmes.

Mr Ian McCrickard, the manager of the Executive’s district office in Downpatrick said the new office will complement the day-to-day role of the Downpatrick office and play a key part delivering housing services to an increasing number of tenants.

BALLYHORNAN – Dissident Republicans operating in the Downpatrick area are believed to be experimenting with their own home-made explosives.

The speculation comes after a bomb blast left a three-foot wide crater at a secluded area in Ballyhornan last week.

Police sources believe Republican terrorists may have been testing a new type of device at the Rocks Road area which contained between five and 10 kilos of home made explosive. 

The August 20 blast was heard over a wide area and the Rocks Road was at the centre of a major security operation which lasted four days and involved both the RUC and the army.

Last week’s blast comes almost a year after place warned dissident Republicans had moved into the greater Downpatrick area and were believed to be planning terrorist attacks.

RUC Chief Inspector Bill Dorman hit out at those behind the bomb blast, given the large number of people who holiday in the Ballyhornan area at this time of year.

KILLINCHY – The doors to Killinchy’s new Millennium hall have finally opened to the public, following six years of hard graft by the local community development association.

Keys to the new Beechvale Road building were handed over to the Killinchy and District Community Development Association yesterday. 

The hand-over marks a successful conclusion to a £300,000 project, which was co-funded by Ards Borough Council, Rural Community Network, National Lottery Charities Board and the local community.

The committee responsible for the hall, which incorporates a meeting room, kitchen, changing rooms and showers, has now invited local groups and individuals to make as much use of the facility as possible.

Members of the committee are confident that the hall will prove a significant boost to the community facilities in Killinchy.

And they are hopeful that the second stage of the development project, which will involve major improvements to the adjacent playing field, will soon get underway.

PORTAFERRY – Residents in Portaferry have this week warned Water Service chiefs they must not ignore their views on the site of the village’s new sewage treatment plant.

The location of the new plant has become a major issue with the residents who are at odds with the Department of Regional Development. It has earmarked two locations, one at the Bar Hill Road and the other at Cloghy Road, as potential sites.

However, residents say both locations are both “totally unacceptable” and have called for the plant to be sited on land owned by the National Trust.

They say this location, which runs alongside the Walter Shore, boasts a large number of trees which would screen the treatment plant and be the ideal site.

A series of public meetings have already taken place in a bid to reach agreement and the residents say if their chosen site is not selected, they will demand a public inquiry into whatever location the Water Service eventually agrees on.

Local Assemblyman and Ards councillor Kieran McCarthy says it is vital the view of the residents, not only in Portaferry, but neighbouring Kircubbin, are taken into consideration and are not ignored or cast aside in any way.

BALLYNAHINCH – Time which has stood still on the face of the historic Market House in Ballynahinch  is set to start moving again.

The magnificent clock which commands views over all four corners of the town is set to get a new lease of life. Last week, the clock which has been located on top of the Market House for well over two centuries, was removed and is currently being restored.

Each piece which is being dismantled is being photographed and a pictorial record of the restoration process will be kept in the Market House when work to transform it into a new community centre is completed next year.

Mr Vincent Fullam, the head of Ballynahinch Regeneration Committee, said the restoration of the clock is a key element in the overall plan to restore the Market House.

He said the clock has overseen many changes in the town over the past 200 years and suggested when it is has been restored, it will be able to oversee many more new chapters in the town’s history.

BISHOPSCOURT – The gates of Bishopscourt motoring racing circuit have been closed due to financial problems.

The closure is the latest in a long line of problems which have faced the circuit in its short existence.

Most recently planners announced they were considering taking legal action because too many meetings had been held over the past 12 months.