Decision Maker

Ards and North Down Borough Council

  • Stephen Reid CEO Ards & North Down Council

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Petitioning Ards and North Down Borough Council

Stop the Chop for a Parking Lot

“Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot” The words of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 song could not be more appropriate for this campaign as local residents oppose plans to fell 14 mature trees for extra parking along the Ropewalk area of Portaferry leading to an ancient woodland. It will involve the destruction of a copse with a small meadow and create a hard edge at the entrance to the beautiful Nugent’s Wood Trail and in other areas a single old tree is to be chopped to make way for one extra parking place! The scheme is part of a wider regeneration plan for Portaferry, a little village on the tip of the Ards Peninsula in Northern Ireland and a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Scientific Interest. The site for the new car park is also an area of Archaeological Potential and listed on the register of Historic Demesnes and Parks but despite all these designations the Council have not even applied for planning permission for the car park but have pushed ahead under ‘permitted development’. Local residents welcome new investment, but are furious that no appropriate consultation took place. They were not told about the felling of 14 mature trees to build the car park. Because the trees are located in a conservation area they all benefit from the protection of a tree preservation order (TPO) so the Council had to apply for planning permission to remove them and it’s own planning Dept. granted that permission.  We are calling for the Council to re-design the scheme and make the area part of the Nature Recovery Network - the government’s 25-year Environment Recovery Plan. The copse is a habitat for Red Squirrels, Pine Marten, numerous woodland birds and foraging bats – lots of our local residents have photos of the red squirrels in the trees and the area is much enjoyed by visitors to the local area and Exploris Aquarium, who use the copse adjacent to the existing car park and next to the woodland entrance for family picnics, children’s ball games and exercising family pets.   We would appreciate your support for this campaign. It may seem like a little thing, just a few trees, but all the little things taken together impact the big things. Trees for tarmac sends out the wrong message especially since Ards and North Down Borough Council were the first Council in Northern Ireland to declare a climate emergency. We would like them to make that declaration more than empty words.  We need to change the mindset of planners and engineers encouraging them to make nature and species protection central in their plans.  It’s also time to set the right example for generations to come, and that example is most definitely not paving paradise to put up a parking lot. Further information and press enquires can be obtained from: 078 7402 3528

Lily Devlin
63,482 supporters
Petitioning Ards and North Down Borough Council

Save wild natural habitat and grassland from allotments and community gardens.

The Holywood shared town has put a proposed plan in action to put a community allotments and garden on an area of land behind Redburn Estate. This piece of wild natural grassland is under threat and has a direct affect on climate change. This field I have had the pleasure of living beside my whole life is teaming with wildlife it has its own natural biodiversity in place a natural food chain for the natural inhabitants the wild life. Badgers foxes come to this field every evening and sparrow hawks, Buzzards, woodpeckers and recently pheasant have been spotted. I can back all this with photos. At the top of field there are wildflower bees butterflies it has its own glorious natural biodiversity in place why distroy this. I have no objection to a community garden and allotments just not here it is just humans wanting to take natural habitat away again. There are many places this could be put in Holywood just not here. This is very close to my heart the way climate change is today. It is so important to keep the natural habitat of all this wildlife safe in its own habitat. Everyone can enjoy this just as it is. Please help me.  Last year they cut the top of the field where there where many wildflowers starting to spread. I think this was done in preparation for this proposed plan. This needs to stop. Leave nature alone it was there before you. Please please sign and share. Ps. I know the residents this will be impacting  and they are not happy I will be fighting this on behalf of the wildlife, residents and climate change. Thankyou all. 

lisa Brush
212 supporters
Petitioning Ards and North Down Borough Council

Save Our North Down Coastal Path from Holywood to Bangor to Donaghadee - Save Our Seaside

Paradise Lost? It will be if ......... The North Down Coast between Belfast and Donaghadee has been a popular playground and walking route for many generations. However the Design Consultants AECOM, acting for Sustrans, the Cycle Lobby Organisation, and Ards and North Down Borough Council, have drawn up a detailed plan to widen, level and smooth out, as much as possible, the path along that route.(Planning Application No. LA06/2020/0530/F). The application shows that Sustrans and the Council are planning a fundamental change in the function of the path, and by extension the Coast, from a place to visit, play, and walk into a full-blown Cycleway. Their aim is to turn this varied and interesting path into a tarmac Cycleway 3-4 metres wide to be 'shared' by cyclists, walkers, everyone. 3+ metres on both sides of the path will also be cleared to 'improve' sight lines, removing trees and vegetation as necessary. The proposal will remove most of the variety and create an anodyne strip suitable only for cycling. A pleasant and interesting path will be turned into dull uniformity. As for people with mobility issues who cannot walk far, if this proposal is successful, they will be intimidated out of even venturing onto the path at all. People who find parts of the present path difficult to traverse at present will find the route totally impossible, with the constant fear of speeding cyclists approaching silently from behind. Sustrans admit that conflict on shared paths occurs everywhere. Precisely! This points to the fundamental flaw in their concept of creating 'shared' paths that no amount of wishful thinking will eradicate. Along the North Down Coast the potential for  conflict will be greatly increased by the fact that many people visit the area to sit, relax and play on the beaches and hinterlands at Seapark, Helen's Bay and Crawfordsburn. The reaction of these people to cyclists speeding among them will be a sight to behold. To claim, as Sustrans does, that this Cycleway will be an improvement on the existing path, is beyond satire. The crux of the issue is this: This stretch of coast is a playground for many people, especially on the beaches at Seapark, Helen's Bay and Crawfordsburn, and their adjoining open spaces. The total unsuitability of creating a cycle path which, supposedly will also be used by walkers, including families, children and pets, is blatantly obvious. Yes, cycling is a healthy and pleasurable form of exercise and transport, and some members of our group are keen cyclists. A dedicated cycle route would benefit the community and be a worthwhile investment, but not if it means destroying the existing path and environs. So let us prevent this wanton destruction and use the money saved to create an alternative separate Cycleway along which cyclists can travel safely without having to accommodate walkers and others using the same space. At present the project has been temporarily stalled by the increasing outcry in the local newspapers and social media as  more people have become aware of the proposal. This has forced the Council to undertake an additional 'Environmental Assessment'. This assessment is being carried out by AECOM. Any conflict of interest? Be in no doubt. This stretch of coast is under serious threat. Do you wish to continue to enjoy this beautiful stretch of coast without being assailed by speeding cyclists and  e-scooters? DO nothing and Paradise will be lost! DO something! Start by signing our petition and spread the word!

anthony smyth
182 supporters