Drumsurn villagers campaign for street lighting

Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers with local Drumsurn Community Association members, Winnie McAteer and Brendan McAteer.
Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers with local Drumsurn Community Association members, Winnie McAteer and Brendan McAteer.

Residents in Drumsurn say they’re disappointed after being told they won’t be getting street lights on a busy stretch of unlit road in the village.

Sinn Fein councillor, Brenda Chivers, and members of Drumsurn Community Association, met with an official from TransportNI on Friday.

We hope it doesn’t take a serious accident, or something worse, before something has to happen.

Colr. Brenda Chivers

Colr. Chivers said the official said their request doesn’t meet the criteria.

“We’re trying to encourage people to be more healthy and walk more but, unfortunately, TransportNI have said a definite ‘no’; that it doesn’t meet the criteria,” said Colr Chivers.

A Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said the meeting occurred after a request for the installation of street lighting between St Matthew’s Primary School and Drumsurn village.

“Colr. Chivers was informed the request did not meet the policy for provision of street lighting as it is a rural road with no substantial development between the school and the village,” said the spokesperson.

Colr. Chivers said additional street lights on the stretch of road are needed outside the 30mph zone. “This campaign has been ongoing for 15 years, and the recent surge of anti social behaviour in the village has brought this issue to the fore again. We’ve also had a robbery, in the local shop.

“As things stand people have to walk in the dark to the GAA pitch, the clubhouse and the chapel. This poses many risks to their safety from both vehicles and potential assaults. It’s outside the 30mph zone so cars get up to quite a speed.

“There is a hall being built beside the chapel, which will have more night classes, but not everyone has transport and it’s very dangerous on that stretch of road.”

Colr. Chivers said she’ll be taking the matter to infrastructure minister, Chris Hazzard.

“There are hundreds of people in this village, and a lot of children. You cannot put lives at risk walking on that stretch of road at night. We’ve been trying to get lights for 15 years and even submitted a petition on the matter. We thought things had changed and TransportNI would look favourably on us. We hope it doesn’t take a serious accident, or something worse, before something has to happen.”

Colr Chivers added: “It’s a matter of health and safety, making the community feel safer and encouraging healthy living. We believe we have a special case.”

Drumsurn Community Association member, Winnie McAteer, said: “It’s very disappointing. Lights on the stretch of the road is really needed.”