From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 18, 2000

From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 18, 2000

14 October 2020

DOWNPATRICK – The construction of a new multi-million pound bypass around Downpatrick has been ruled out by planning chiefs.

The news will come as a body blow to politicians in the town who are campaigning for a major relief road linking the town’s Belfast and Newcastle roads.

Two weeks ago, they called for an economic appraisal of such a scheme to be commissioned, but planning chiefs believe the road will almost certainly never be built because of the cost involved and the impact its construction would have on the environment.

Planners say a bypass would only bring “limited relief” to the town centre and believe the introduction of new town centre management system, including a new one-way system, represents the best solution.

Planners say such a move would be “less environmentally harmful” and could offer great convenience to town centre users.

Their decision not to support the development of a major new by-pass in Downpatrick, will almost certainly hand the initiative to a campaign group in Ballynahinch which is fighting for a similar road to be constructed around the town.

KILLYLEAGH – Down councillors have agreed to write to the owner of Killyleagh Lodge residential home to register their concerns about its future.

The decision was made at Monday’s meeting of Down Council following a decision by the Planning Service to grant outline planning permission for a residential development on land surrounding the Downpatrick Road home.

The development, if given the go ahead, will include traditional town houses and apartments and Killyleagh residents fear it could spell the end of the nursing home.

They are concerned that the potential loss of 60 jobs could prove an unrecoverable economic blow to the town which has only begun to recover from the closure of the local mill.

BALLYNAHINCH – ‘Big Brother’ will soon be watching the people of Ballynahinch in a bid to stamp out the rising crime rate.

The town is one of 11 Ulster partnerships to receive a share of a £1.6m package to install a closed-circuit television system.

Ballynahinch’s share of the fund, which tops £110,000, was won as part of the Police Authority’s CCTV town centre challenge competition launched in a bid to help the fight against crime.

The competition was introduced in April inviting towns from across the Province to demonstrate how CCTV could be used 

to tackle crime in their 


Each bid had to have the support of local police and include a plan for securing ten per cent of the capital costs of the scheme and recurrent costs for its first two years.

Ballynahinch Regeneration group and local traders will provide the ten per cent of the scheme costs for the town.

SAINTFIELD – Anyone searching for the secrets of a long life should look no further than Saintfield woman Hazel Ward.

Hazel celebrated her 100th birthday last month at a special party with family and friends in the Silver Birch Nursing Home in Saintfield.

Her birthday was extra special to residents and staff as she was the first resident of Silver Birch when it opened around 11 years ago.

Last month Hazel received a telegram from the Queen to congratulate her on her birthday and this week she received a bouquet of flowers and a letter from Down Council chairman Albert Colmer.

Hazel has witnessed many changes over the past century which most people can only read about from history books and Mr Colmer couldn’t resist the opportunity to try and discover Hazel’s secrets of a long life.

“Maybe some day Hazel you will let us know the answers to a long and healthy life,” he said.

Mr Colmer told Hazel that he wanted her to know she has not been forgotten and on behalf of Down Council he wished her a very happy birthday.

DUNDRUM – South Down Assemblyman Jim Wells has supported calls for a new children’s play area for Dundrum.

But the politician has asked that an alternative site be found so that pensioners in the area won’t be disturbed by the noise of children playing.

Speaking earlier this week, Mr Wells explained that residents had asked Down Council to provide the new amenity on the green at St Donard’s Walk in the village.

“There is no doubt that Dundrum needs a new play area and I have pledged my full support to this proposal provided a suitable location can be identified,” he said.

“I do, however, have concerns about the proposal to place it on the green in St Donard’s Walk, which is part of the De Courcy Way estate,” he added.

“Many of the residents in this part of Dundrum are pensioners who could be inconvenienced and disturbed by children using a play facility located on the green.”

“These play areas also tend to act as a magnet to older children and teenagers and there will inevitably be problems arising when they congregate there in the evenings.”

SEAFORDE – Seaforde Women’s Institute hosted its annual meeting recently which was chaired by executive member Mrs Jean Neill.

Members observed a minute silence in memory of long serving member Mrs Ann Gardner who was serving on the committee at the time of her death.

Mrs Annabel Cleland was re-elected as President of the committee which is made up of Margaret Broome, Elizabeth Fleming, Margo Groves, Ellen Milligan, Margaret McCall, Mae McCammon, Pearl Shaw, Mona Strain and Margaret Watson.

This year the institute staged the Balbriggan Shield competition for a 6” knitted square which was won by Anna Macauley. Netta Kirby, Mae McCammon and Margaret McCall won the monthly competition and Helen Rae won the ballot.

BRYANSFORD – Families and staff at the Shimna Valley Holiday House near Bryansford received a surprise last week, when one of Ireland’s leading singers ped in.

The famous Joe Dolan visited the house, which is run by the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children, on Friday, a short time before he was due to appear on stage at the Slieve Donard Hotel.

During his unexpected visit, the singing star chatted with staff and families, giving encouragement to the work carried out by the charity, which provides practical help and support for children with cancer and their families living in the Province.

Speaking after the surprise visit, Joe, who is currently in the middle of a hectic tour, said “Every week in Northern Ireland another child is diagnosed with cancer. The holiday home at Shimna Valley provides for the entire family, including siblings of the child suffering from cancer, with the opportunity to interact as a family unit.”

PORTAFERRY – Concern has again been raised over the present sewage treatment facilities in Portaferry by local Alliance Assembly member, Kieran McCarthy.

The sewage facilities in the prime tourist area were branded “totally inadequate” by Mr McCarthy who said that immediate improvements had to be made.

Mr McCarthy urged members of the Ards Council to welcome new draft proposals addressing the problem which had been put forward by the water service last week.

COMBER – Comber Flower Club held its first meeting of the new season recently in the town’s Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church Hall.

The chairman, Mrs Barbara Megarry, welcomed everyone and introduced the committee for the new season.

During the evening she congratulated members who had been successful at various shows throughout the summer and outlined forthcoming events.

She also encouraged members to attend the annual general meeting of the Northern Ireland Group of Flower Arranging Societies (NIGFAS) and encouraged members to compete at the Northern Ireland Chrysanthemum and Horticultural Society’s floral art competition on November 11.