Work begins on fences at Model Farm

Work begins on fences at Model Farm

14 October 2020

WORK has begun on the erection of new gates and fences at the Model Farm estate in Downpatrick.

They are being installed to turn the pensioners’ estate near Ballymote Park into safer cul-de-sacs.

Local councillor Cadogan Enright said the gates and fences were needed as a result of anti-social behaviour in the area, which culminated in a pensioner’s cottage being set on fire.

“This is still an ongoing nuisance – but making the area less accessible will allow the PSNI to round up the offenders as there will be no back routes out to evade the police,” he said.

Cllr Enright praised Housing Executive managers in Downpatrick and the police for their support, without which, he said, the scheme could not have been done.

He continued: “We did experience some lengthy and regrettable delays as the council lacked experience in the legal process and consultations process surrounding ‘gating orders’. Hopefully, if these sort of situations ever crop up again, they will now know how to do it in a more timely manner.

“This has taken nearly three years now after the police and Housing Executive agreed with all the other partners that urgent action needed to be taken.

“The Housing Executive found a budget to gate up nine of the ten back alleys. NI Water, NIE, the Fire Service, Ambulance Service, Roads Service and the council all had to agree and there was also extensive consultation with the community.

“In the meantime, the NIHE have been repeatedly replacing the nine temporary steel and wood barriers week after week when they are torn down.

“This was an exceptional effort as this cluster of pensioners homes would be unviable as an area where pensioners can live without this sterling community-focused work from the Housing Executive.”

Cllr Enright added: “I also want to praise the Model Farm Community Association who helped facilitate this change though the community, especially committee members Kyla Hannaway and Agnes Swirydenko as well as Flying Horse Ward Community Forum and people like Lisa Perry without whose help the community consultation would not have been as easy.”

Local man Terry Walsh said people in the area had waited a long time for the gates and fences and appreciated the Housing Executive’s efforts.

“The first gate was misplaced and left a gap on both sides for malcontents to squeeze through but we have made representations though Cllr Enright to have it moved one foot to correct this problem,” he said.