‘Assembly blocks street progress’

The security barrier in Edward Street
The security barrier in Edward Street

The campaign to open up Edward Street is stuck in limbo - until such a time as the NI Assembly is up and running.

The street is the only one in Northern Ireland which still has a security barrier, even though the police station has now closed.

The news was revealed to a group of Portadown councillors when they secured a meeting with senior civil servant Simon Richardson in Marlborough House last week.

Alderman Arnold Hatch said they had been told by Transport NI that they are unable to pass the necessary legislation to re-designate the street while the Assembly is on hold.

Said Mr Hatch, “This is most frustrating for all concerned, not only for us as elected representatives but also for the businesses in Edward Street.

“The businesses want the street opened up to make trading easier. At the moment anyone going to the flower shop, for instance, has to go up and turn.

“There is also a piece of land for development opposite the police station which is up for sale, but it is difficult for developers when the road is closed off.”

Mr Hatch said the delegation had also been told that the removal of the barriers and sangar was the responsibility of PSNI estates division.

He said, “We believe the estates division is to remove the barrier and we will follow that up with them.

“We are hoping that it won’t be delayed because of finance reasons.”

Portadown Police Station closed completely in April with the removal of its enquiries office.

Mr Hatch, and fellow councillors Julie Flaherty and David Jones also raised concerns over excess speed in Joseph Street, the completion of the revised traffic system in Edenderry and the problem of heavy goods vehicles using James Street.