RACKS 2018 AGM Report by Chairperson
Attached is a copy of the Chairperson’s report to members at RACKS’s 2018 AGM held in Shandon Park Golf Club on 24 April 2018.:-
I am Ian Ratcliffe, presenting my eleventh annual report on RACKS since we set up in 2007.
It has been a quiet year, perhaps as a result of the impasse at Stormont, and no new legislation or plans. We can only hope that the major parties get their acts together to govern Northern Ireland soon.
A55 Knock Road Widening Scheme
- There has been no change during the year, the Department for Infrastructure retains the scheme in its Strategic Road Improvement Programme, but funding is still not available;
- We will continue to lobby for the maximum protection for our area once the scheme recommences.
We have engaged with officials on several transport issues:
- There continue to be collisions or near misses at the Shandon Park lights due to confusion, ignorance or just ignoring the Highway Code. My wife or I have seen three collisions, and experienced near misses in the last few months, and there will have been others. It remains a safety hazard until the Knock Road Scheme completes;
- PSNI has promised to increase enforcement of the speed limit on this section of Knock Road;
- Transport NI has addressed potholes, mossy footways, and basal tree growth obscuring sight lines.
- Pedestrians find it dangerous at busy times trying to cross Gilnahirk Road to the shops at Cherryvalley. Transport NI did commit enhancing the traffic lights to provide controlled pedestrian crossing of Gilnahirk Road at the junction with Kings Road, but they did a u-turn, effectively prioritising motorists’ convenience over pedestrian safety. Officials have assessed a pedestrian crossing near Cherryvalley shops as low priority and is in the distant future;
- Our perception is that vehicle speeds are increasing in the RACKS area as motorists become adept at navigating the traffic calming. We have asked Transport NI to designate the 20mph advisory speed limit as “enforceable” however they have declined to do so. However officials have this week committed to reassessing the speed and volume of traffic in the RACKS area in the next 6 – 8 months.
While the pressure for development in the area has not been as great as during the height of the “garden grabbing” boom a few years ago, there have been two significant developments over the past year. Building work has commenced on the site of Ben Hur off Shandon Park. The original Knock Golf Clubhouse has been demolished, however we will be welcoming 3 new families to the area once the new homes are completed later this year. Also, planning permission was granted in February 2018 for development of the former Orchard House Nursing Home on Cherryvalley Park. On this occasion the original building will be retained, however the site will be extended to provide for 12 apartments.
There are also several other ongoing planning applications, often as families seek to extend or improve their homes. RACKS does not become involved in these issues unless it is evident that there is widespread concern amongst residents, or the individual application raises planning matters impacting adversely on the long term development of our residential area.
- Members have noticed a drinking den developing in Cherryvalley Glen, and have drawn this anti-social behaviour to the attention of the Council and the police, before it develops into criminality.
- Northern Ireland Environment Agency now opens Shandon Park Mound each Sunday from 12 noon to 4pm. We have offered to perform opening and closing duties to extend access when NIEA is in a position to indemnify us from potential claims should any accidents occur.
- Aidan Campbell has just given you an update. Please consider volunteering to help, the effort required is not much more than being a good, vigilant neighbour.
- We try to keep our website up to date with fresh material. Take a few minutes to check it occasionally;. If there is a volunteer to keep the website content up-to-date, you would be most welcome.
Financial Report for 2017 calendar year
- Highlights of the report are:
- Income £355;
- Expenditure £198;
- Balance Sheet shows funds at £2,706.
- Most of our expenditure goes on maintaining the website, printing and the refreshments tonight;
- We rely on your annual £5 subscription to keep functioning.
Election of Office Bearers
A number of Committee members have retired in recent years, and we want to replace them to help share the workload and ensure that the committee is representative of the RACKS area. It’s not onerous; if you can manage a few hours a year, please volunteer. As the current committee age, even the delivery drop to 650 RACKS households sometimes looks daunting.
Finally, I would like to thank:
- Members of the Committee for the time they devote to the Association;
- Our local councillors, MLAs and MP who help us to get our concerns addressed;
- Members of RACKS for their support and attending this evening; and finally;
- Shandon Park Golf Club for allowing us to use club premises for our AGM and committee meetings.
That concludes my report. Thank you for your patience and support.