Anger as roads bosses refuse to repair collapsed safety fence

ROADS bosses need to replace what’s left of a safety fence before it completely vanishes.

That’s according to MLA Alan Chambers, who complains that a wooden fence running alongside a busy stretch of the city’s dual carriageway ring road has been allowed to collapse until only a single section is left.

The fence is supposed to create a barrier between East Circular Road and a grassy area that’s a popular spot for kids in the heavily suburban Towerview part of the city to play ball games.

But Mr Chambers says he’s been unable to get officials in the Department for Infrastructure to ‘accept responsibility for providing fencing at this point’ – something that particularly rankles as the department recently installed a brand new fence just a few hundred metres up the road from the decaying one.

A department spokeswoman has confirmed that they don’t plan to repair or replace the busted fence, even though they admit it’s ‘missing in places and is not aesthetically pleasing’.

But, said the spokeswoman, due to budget cuts the department has to concentrate on fixing safety risks – and with that in mind, the fence ‘is not considered to be a high priority’.

Mr Chambers disagrees on that point, arguing that the damage and disrepair exposes neighbourhood kids to danger.

“The large adjacent open grass area is a popular spot for children playing ball games,” he said.

“The lack of a fence between this play area and the roadway presents a road safety danger should a child rush out onto the busy road in their excitement to retrieve a wayward ball.

“The fencing here was a mixture of wooden and metal sections. The wooden section has all but disappeared, while the metal section is showing a serious amount of deterioration.”

The problem fence is next to Alandale, a residential street on the edge of the Towerview part of Bangor.

Recently, Infrastructure Department workmen replaced wire mesh fences next to Greenland Drive – another residential street only around a minute or two’s walk up the same stretch of the ring road.

Mr Chambers admits that he’s baffled by the department’s apparent position that a fence on one section of the road should be replaced, while another close by that’s already partially collapsed can be allowed to decay even further,

Said the UUP MLA: “I would call on the department to accept responsibility for providing fencing at this point, especially since they have created a welcome precedent just a little way along the road by replacing the fencing at Greenland Drive.

“Acknowledging the budget pressures on all sectors of government, a commitment to even establish a phased approach to this important issue would ensure a hope that the safety of children at play remains a departmental priority.”