Larne West Distributor (South), Larne


Construction scheme (half finished)
To complete a new road link between the northern Larne West Distributor and the main A8 near Millbrook, in west Larne, serving new housing developments around Ballyhampton Road.
Total Length
1.8 km / 1.1 miles

Proposed in "Larne West Study", DOE - 1992
Included in "Larne Area Plan 2010" - 1998
Work began during or after 2001

Included in Sub-Regional Transportation Plan (SRTP) - 2007
Central portion of road (about 50% of the total) completed - by 2008

Little or no work carried out between 2008 and 2017
Plans to complete link road publicised - Sep 2017
Minor work took place at south end of road - Spring 2018
Unlikely to see any more work soon - Feb 2023

Unknown - funded by private developer
See Also

General area map of Larne
Larne West Distributor (North) - on this site

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

"Larne West" is a term that has been in use since the early 1990s and refers to the plan to allocate large quantities of land for new housing to the west of the town. Because it was recognised that such large-scale development (111 hectares) would require new road infrastructure, the DOE published the "Larne West Study" in 1992. This study delineated two new distributor roads to traverse the land. The first, in the north, would connect Killyglen Road and Linn Road. The second, in the south, would connect the first distributor to the main A8 at Millbrook via the Old Belfast Road, hitherto a minor local road serving a small number of houses and commercial premises. This page refers to the second of these. The map below shows the two roads, with the northern part in blue and the southern part in red/orange. The developers of the housing would be required to fund and build the roads in their entirety, and once completed to an appropriate standard they would be "adopted" by DFI who would be responsible for maintaining them.

The Larne West Study required the road to built to a particular standard: 7.3m wide with 2m footpaths and 3.5m verges on either side. There were also to be no private accesses directly onto the road. Instead, houses would front onto side roads which would themselves link to the distributor road at regular intervals.

Work on both roads began some time after 2001 (I have been unable to determine exactly when). The Northern Distributor was finally completed in December 2013, but work on this road, the Southern Distributor, proceeded more slowly and as of the time of writing (October 2017) only the central portion and a very short stretch at the north end have been completed. The map above shows the completed stretches in red and the unbuilt sections in orange. As of 2011 even the central portion was divided in two by a concrete barrier impassible to vehicles, though it was fully open by 2016. Construction of the road severed an existing rural road, Ballyhampton Road, which was realigned to form a pair of T-junctions onto the new road and no longer follows its original route. Part of the old Ballyhampton Road has, however, survived as an access to some houses, as can be seen in satellite views.

The economic depression has slowed progress greatly and no further work has been carried out since around 2008. The Google Streetviews below show the temporary termini at the north and south ends of the central section. It is unclear when, or if, the road will be completed to its envisaged length.

Screenshot from Google Streetview showing the view north at the north end of the completed central section of the road, from its junction with Linden Crescent, as it looked in August 2008. [Google Streetview]

Screenshot from Google Streetview showing the view south at the south end of the completed central section of the road, close to its junction with Porter Crescent, as it looked in August 2011. [Google Streetview]


8 Feb 2023: The 125 metre stretch of unbult road at the bottom of the Larne West Distributor South (Ballyloran Link) continues to cause enormous disruption to the intended traffic flows in Larne, as it forces all traffic to travel back into Larne rather than use the much more obvious adjacent Antiville roundabout. I was recently made aware that the land making up this stretch is owned by a property developer. While completion of the road by private developers was envisaged in the 1998 Larne West Plan, the planning process was actually carried out very poorly with the result that there is currently no requirement on the developer to build the final 125 metre stretch! So the developer is doing nothing wrong and, due to the planning failures, nobody can compel them to complete the road. In, fact from a purely commercial point of view, it would make much more sense for the developer to hold onto the land in the hope that DFI will eventually step in and buy it (making a profit) than complete the road at their own expense (making a loss). I expect DFI would be extremely reluctant to use public funds for what was meant to be a developer-funded road. So we are left in this ridiculous situation and will probably remain so until someone somewhere comes up with a solution, perhaps years down the line. Planning authorities, and especially Mid and East Antrim Council who are now responsible for planning here, should all learn lessons from the serious planning failures that were made in Larne West. The recently-comnpleted Ballyclare Western Relief Road shows how it should be done. With thanks to MLA John Stewart and his colleagues for information on this scheme and his ongoing efforts to have the road completed.

8 Jul 2022: The DFI Minister was recently asked about the ongoing issues with the incomplete Larne West Distributor (South). The Minister's response was quite vague, but did say that the most recent planning application for 500 more houses would require "the provision of traffic signals at the junction of Donaghy’s Lane with Antiville Road". If that is the sum total of the requirements to improve the local road network in Larne West then it represents a continued planning failure. This road has been in planning for 30 years this year and, as things stand, the missing 125 metre stretch of road near Porter Crescent is shameful.

13 Feb 2022: This year marks the 30th anniversary of this link road was first envisaged, and it has still not been completed. The most absurd situation, which I mentioned in the previous update below, is a short stretch of 125 metres of missing road at the south end of this road, near Porter Crescent. This means that everyone in Larne West has to travel back down to the Antiville roundabout to access the A8. Local MLA John Stewart recently pointed out that another planning application has recently been lodged by the developer to build an additional 189 houses in the development (ref LA02/2021/1156/RM). It would be a massive failure of planning on the part of Mid and East Antrim Council if they approved this planning application without, at the very least, requiring the completion of this 125 metres of road and preferably the short stretch at the northern end too, to link the distributor to Killyglen Link. There is really no point in having this sweeping distributor road if it is just going to end at concrete-filled barrels at either end. Let's hope we see some sense soon.

18 Oct 2021: This scheme is becoming farcical. Some work did take place at the southern end of the road in 2018 but has halted again. It is still disconnected from Old Belfast Road, and hence Millbrook roundabout, because of a short stretch of 125 metres of missing road. This means that everyone in Larne West has to travel back down to the Antiville roundabout to access the A8. This situation has now been the case for years. In 2020 a local politician pointed out how silly the situation is – that so many houses have now been built without the completion of the main link road intended to serve them. Work is currently taking place on a further phase at Ballyboley Road. Contrast this to the situation in Ballyclare, where the entire Western Relief Road is to be built by the end of 2022. The lack of completion of this road in Larne represents a failure by the planning authorities and it is time that something more was done. A moratorium on further development until it is completed would be a good starting point. It would be good if the local council, who now have responsibility for planning, was more proactive on this point too.

3 Dec 2018: Work has indeed got underway again on this scheme after ten years. Work seems to have got underway in late Spring 2018 to connect the southern end of the Larne West Distributor (South) to the existing Old Belfast Road and hence on to the Millbrook roundabout. This will be significant for the area as it will provide a new way to get onto the A8 that avoids Antiville roundabout. Work also seems to have got underway at the samr time to extend the northern end of the road, but it does not look as if it will be completed all the way to the Larne West Distributor (North) at Lindara but that is the eventual intention. With thanks to Stephen Livingston for information on this.

28 Oct 2017: It looks as if there might finally be some movements towards completing the Larne West distributor road which has sat half complete since the global financial crisis of 2007-08 halted a lot of work, ie for about a decade now. A developer, Nuport Developments, is to submit plans to build new housing developments at Larne West and Cloverbrook along with 86% of the remaining stretch of the road. Another developer, Antrim Construction, is to build the last 14% in conjunction with the partially-completed Porter Green development. A public consultation into the proposals took place in mid September. In a Belfast Telegraph article the developer noted that permission had not yet been granted, but assuming it was granted work on the houses would begin "immediately" and last up to ten years. It's not clear at what point during the "ten years" the road elements would be completed, but at any rate it's all part of a process that should eventually see the road completed as per the map further up the page. The recent upgrade of the A8 to dual-carriageway standard has also helped make Larne a more convenient place for commuters to live. With thanks to John Corr for information on these proposals.