The General Secretary of the Apprentice Boys, Billy Moore, has appealed for the powers-that-be to approve a loading-bay outside the society’s historic Memorial Hall as he believes vehicles parked outside the building are presenting aesthetic and, more importantly, safety problems.
What’s the point in spending over £2m on a state-of-the-art refurbishment and extension if users and visitors are risking life-and-limb when they leave the building and can’t get their pictures taken outside due to all the vans and cars lining the street, Mr Moore has asked.
“Because cars and other high-sided vehicles are parked outside the front door, visitors to the Siege Museum, who want to have a group photograph can’t. It’s virtually impossible because of all these vehicles parked outside,” said Mr Moore.
“But more importantly there is the safety aspect,” he added.
“Children are coming right out the door and they can’t see around these high-sided vehicles, children being children, they’ll often go straight out onto the road and they aren’t able to see the traffic.”
Mr Moore said that because the hall also functions as a social club there is the further issue of blocking the narrow city centre street when taking delivery of beer kegs and other stores.
“It’s frustrating,” said Mr Moore. “We’ve been asking for a loading-bay, or double yellow lines at least, for a year now.”
Local Independent Alderman and Apprentice Boy, Maurice Devenney, has backed the association in its calls for action.
“I do believe a loading-bay should be put in place in Society Street when you look at all the traffic issues that there have been recently,” said Mr Devenney.
“Over the past year with all the work that there was on the new hotel, there were work vans parked along the street almost all the time.
“I think the Siege Museum committee and the Apprentice Boys have been very patient but what we need to see is all the groups coming together, we need to see a meeting of minds and I’ll be lobbying to ensure that what’s a serious health and safety issue, is sorted out.”
Another prominent Apprentice Boy, William Hay, has also called for the statutory authorities, to get together in order to find a solution.
He said: “This is something that has been discussed for some time with various agencies.
“Even before extensive work on the new museum had started it has been discussed as it’s certainly a health and safety issue, there’s no doubt about it.”
He also said he would be lobbying the relevant authorities to arrive at a resolution.
“School children are coming out of the building on to a bust street.
“We’ve been trying to say to the various agencies, DRD and Roads Service, to try and come together in order to resolve this,” he said.
The Sentinel asked the Department of Regional Development (DRD) if it was aware of the problem but at the time of going to press on Tuesday, April 5, a response had not been forthcoming.
The paper will carry any such response once it has been received.