12/09/2002

DoE takes action against school over 'traffic chaos'

The Department of Environment is to take action against Millennium Integrated Primary School in Carryduff after it "wilfully" breached planning conditions.

Environment Minister Dermott Nesbitt pledged to act saying that the school had opened before it had met conditions over road safety for children and other road users. He further accused the school of putting "at risk the children who attend the school".

“That very important condition has been wilfully and shamefully ignored by the school authorities, and the school has opened without those vital road safety works being completed," said Mr Nesbitt.

"Not only does this flout the terms of the planning permission, but it also puts at risk the children who attend the school, their parents, and other road users on what is a very busy main road."

Criticising what he described as the resulting "traffic chaos" caused by the opening of the school, Mr Nesbitt added that having granted planning permission for this school on June 19 2002, "a clear and unequivocal condition was attached which required the completion of road works to provide a proper, safe and convenient means of access before work on the school commenced".

The Minister said that as a result of the school's actions he had instructed his officials to take immediate enforcement action against the school authorities.

He also said that police had already had to deal with traffic problems since the school opened. He concluded: “So serious was the impact on traffic yesterday morning that the PSNI had attended to slow down the traffic on the approach to the school. This is an indication of how serious the road safety issue is, and the danger to which the public are being exposed as a result of the school authorities’ decision to open the school before completing the necessary road works. It is also wasteful of scarce police resources."

(MB)

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