Ballyclare Western Relief Road

 

Status
Construction scheme (future)
Where
To construct a road link from the A57 Templepatrick Road to the west of Ballyclare to the B94 Rashee Road north of Ballyclare via the B95 Doagh Road.
Total Length
3.2 km / 2.0 miles
Dates

Road has been proposed since 1980s

Included in draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan - 2004

27 August 2009 - KPL announce plans to proceed

Planning permission granted - 11 Jan 2011
Scheme on hold (as of Mar 2012)

KPL Group placed into administration - Feb 2014
Neptune Group acquire land and indicate a desire to proceed with the road - Nov 2015

(Previously due to commence Feb 2012 as of Dec 2011; "after Mar 2011" as of Aug 2010; August 2010 as of May 2010)

Construction due to last 12 months (as of Sep 2009)

Cost
25m - funded by private developer (as of 2009)
Photos/Maps
See below
See Also

Coverage of Aug 2009 announcement - Ballyclare Gazette

Click here to jump straight down to updates for this scheme.

Current area plans have marked Ballyclare as a town for significant growth to accommodate some of Northern Ireland's fast growing population. However the town is severly limited by the fact that the only way to get from the north of the town to the south, and hence to Belfast, is via the congested main street. This proposal will not necessarily diminish the traffic on the main street, but it should allow continued housing development in the town without increasing congestion at that location. It will see a new two-lane road link running round the north west of the town connecting the A57 Templepatrick Road to the west of Ballyclare to the B94 Rashee Road north of Ballyclare via the B95 Doagh Road. This will include a second bridge over the Six Mile Water. The approximate route is shown below (scroll further down for an alternative map).

Aerial view of Ballyclare

The proposal has been on the cards for at least 20 years, and was most recently included in the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (first published 2004). Construction of the road was always planned to be carried out by private developers, but it was not until August 2009 that a developer - KPL Group - secured sufficient land to announce its construction which the Ballyclare Gazette described as "the largest and most expensive privately funded road proposal ever brought forward in Northern Ireland". The road is needed in order to begin work on a major housing development which will take up to 20 years to complete and include around 2000 homes when completed. A pair of planning applications for the road have already been submitted, with part 1 being the short section from Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road, and part 2 being the longer section from there to Rashee Road. It is still not certain whether the entire road will be constructed at once, or just part 1 initially.

Route

Assuming that the maps released to the public in August 2009 don't change, the route appears to be a single-carriageway made up as follows:

  • A new roundabout on the A57 Templepatrick Road at the existing Ballyrobert Road junction.
  • Approximately 1km of road going north-west to a new roundabout on the B95 Doagh Road, adjacent to the cemetery. This stretch will include a bridge over the Six Mile Water.
  • Approximately 2km of road running in an S-shape to a new roundabout at Rashee Road just south of the existing Cogry Road juction.

Note that this route differs slightly from that proposed in the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan in that the northern section runs further out from the town than envisaged in that document.

The sketched Google Maps overlay below shows the approximate route proposed.

Updates

23 Oct 2016: The Infrastructure Minister was asked about this scheme in the Assembly on 19 September. The neptune Group acquired the housing development in question in November 2015 and indicated that they would start work on the site early in 2017. The provision of the Ballyclare Western Relief Road is required for the development, but presumably will not all be provided at once. In fact, it could take up to 15 years, the time it is estimated it will take to built all the houses involved. The Minister said "There are a number of locations throughout the North where local councils stand in a prime position to play a leading role, following the devolution of various powers to them in recent years, such as their capacity for financial borrowing, to give one example. Certainly, either on their own or in conjunction with the Department, and with local developers, there is the potential to look at this." This suggests Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council could yet have a role in this scheme. The developer does need to pay for the road, but perhaps the council could provide a loan on favourable terms to allow it to be built at an earlier date.

6 Apr 2016: It's been almost four years since this page was last updated, because the economic slowdown caused the Ballyclare West housing project, of which this road is a component, to be put on the long finger in 2012. KPL Group, the developer behind it, then went into administration in February 2014 shortly after the land had been sold off. In November 2015 the land was acquired by Neptune Group who said in a statement on their web site that "we plan to start work on the site [which is primarily a housing development] early next year. We intend to liaise closely with the local community and elected representatives in order that the new proposed link road can be constructed in a timely fashion". The scheme got a brief mention in a Written Answer in the Assembly about six weeks ago (question AQO 9691/11-16). The DRD Minister noted that the DRD will "assist this development where possible", which is all they can really do since the scheme is "developer led". A developer led project is one that exists primarily to service a private development and must therefore be paid for by the private developer, albeit built to the required standard to become DRD property when finished. All of this does give us some hope that we might see work on the road resume over the next few years, but we'll have to wait and see what Neptune Group decide to do.

20 May 2012: It seems that the decline in the housing market has now hit this scheme. According to the Newtownabbey Today, the scheme is now on hold for an unknown length of time due to lack of money. The developer, KPL Group, said that the scheme is "facing a slight delay due to a reduction in capital provisions" although they point out that they have already invested a considerable sum in preparatory works, and hence are still committed to it. It seems as if the scheme will have to wait until the housing market picks up again. It is not known how long the delay will be, but it may be some time, hence I have moved this scheme back down the priority list.

25 Feb 2012: I was past the site today and took a photo looking along the route of the first phase of this road (see below). It suggests that at least some preparatory work has now taken place. Firstly, there is a distinct mark in the grass of the field that coincides with the line of the road. This suggests that either some vegetation clearance has taken place, or that the line of the road has been marked out in some other way. Secondly, it looks as if some trees have been removed close to where the road will cross the Six Mile Water (foreground of pic). I may be clutching at straws a bit here, but since work is due to begin around now this could be a sign that something is finally moving.
Ballyclare West
Looking north west from the A57 Templepatrick Road/Ballyrobert Road junction, along the line of the new road (see map above for guidance). Note the light coloured area on the side of the hill, and the apparent tree removal to the right of centre. Taken on 25 Feb 2012. [Wesley Johnston]

12 Dec 2011: According to Newtownabbey Today, work on the first phase of this road is now due to start in February 2012. We had previously expected work to begin during the past year, but there has been no evidence of work and no explanation. According to the article, the reason for the delay was "environmental regulations when several [12] badger setts were discovered along the proposed two-mile route". Hopefully we will see work begin within this timescale.

5 Jun 2011: Work has still not begun on the road. However I was at the site of the associated housing development last week and one of the people working on the site said that they thought the work on the road would be beginning "in July". This is not official information, so could be completely wrong, but as it's all we have I am sharing it anyway! The property company has now set up a web site which devotes a page to the road (but with no maps) which it calls the "Westlands Link Road", although the final say on the road name lies with Newtownabbey Borough Council.

14 Jan 2011: After much delay, planning permission for this proposed road and associated housing development has finally been granted. It is not clear when construction on the road will begin, except to note that (i) KPL seem keen to proceed (ii) work on the road will begin prior to the bulk of the housing development. As it is being progressed by a private developer there are unlikely to be any announcements when work does begin.

18 Sep 2010: Work had been due to get underway on the new road in August 2010, but this did not happen. According to the Newtownabbey Today, the delay is due to the fact that the Planning Appeals Commission have delayed the publication of their report into the inquiry into the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (BMAP) until at least March 2011. As this road scheme is part of the BMAP, it is likely to be affected by this delay. The developer (KPL) has not commented, so their position is unknown.

June 2010: According to Newtownabbey Today, work on the houses associated with this development began in May, on land off Rashee Road. However, work on the road did not begin in April 2010 as was anticipated back in August last year. It has now emerged that approval for the road cannot be given until the finalised Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (BMAP) has been published. This is presumably because provision of the link road is included in the BMAP and is hence part of the plan. The BMAP *may* be published later in 2010, but no firm date has been given. The developer (KPL Group) is saying that work may begin on the road in "August 2010", but with the dependency on BMAP this seems very optimistic. The article has also confirmed that the road will be built in two stages. The 1km section from Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road will be built first, with the extension to Rashee Road following later, possibly a year or more later.

Photos

The view west along Doagh Road, Ballyclare. The new road will cross this road
a few hundred metres ahead. Taken in 2003. [Wesley Johnston]

Looking south, towards Ballyclare, along Rashee Road from the Cogry Road junction. The new road will terminate near where the car is parked. Taken in 2003. [Wesley Johnston]

Artist's impression of how the new road and associated housing development
will look. Picture obtained from the Irish Construction site. [KPL Group]