Update on the Blackhead Path from Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
A preferred design for the front part of the path (near the car park) has now been developed by our engineers and in initial meetings with NIEA Marine Licencing Division, those plans have been looked upon positively. Council have now appointed an independent Quantity Surveyor who will cost up this work. This information will have to then feed into our Economic Appraisal, which is currently being developed. Due to the level of expenditure, a full Economic Appraisal will be necessary to comply with Council procedures and the NI Auditor requirements. It is our aim to have this Economic Appraisal presented to Council by the start of July to get the final approval from Elected Members to proceed with the best option.
In the meantime, there are immediate concerns in relation to the continual slippage of the front part of the path, and the impact that this will have on residents who live on the path and who use the path on a regular basis. There was a further meeting on the 10 May with the residents affected, to discuss the timescales and scope for the work. We require to put in place immediate arrangements to ensure that the path is not being used for any vehicular access in an effort to minimise further risk of collapse and to preserve the path for pedestrian use as long as possible, hopefully until work can commence.
At this time Council do not envisage the path being closed immediately for pedestrian use, however, that may change. In the short term, vehicular access to the path will be restricted.
I want to assure you of our continued desire to resolve to this long standing problem. Council fully recognises the benefit this path brings to both the economy and community; not only to local people, but to others who regularly visit the path. However, we need to ensure the Health and Safety of users and ensure that any works proposed meet environmental considerations, including marine licencing requirements.
Should Council approval be gained in July it is our projected timescales that work would commence onsite in October 2018 and that the work to all sections of the path (including the part by the lighthouse) would be completed by July 2019. All of this of course is subject to final Council and regulatory approval on the way forward.
23 May 2018