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  • Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

MEA Councillors stick with ornate style for seafront in Larne

Seafront railings are to be replaced in the same ornate style and white colour at Chaine Memorial Road in Larne, it was agreed at a meeting of the borough council’s Direct Services Committee on Tuesday evening.

Councillors have ruled out a plainer option in either blue or black.

The £50k cost of the replacement railings will be funded by the Department for Infrastructure with the council taking responsibility for maintenance. There is a similar arrangement in Whitehead where a contract has been awarded for this project.

The railings have a coating which is expected to enable them to be “maintenance free” for 25 years.

A former councillor has highlighted what he described as “the criminally obvious rust-eaten railings at Larne’s seafront”.

Robert Robinson, who was an elected representative on Larne Borough Council, criticised the condition of the railings at Chaine Memorial Road which he says are “past recovery” with top bars missing or loose and “some blatantly obvious issues”.

Also commenting on the existing railings, Coast Road DUP Councillor Angela Smyth said: “You could paint these railings every year and they will just rust.

“We have events now like the half marathon with people coming to that area. It is great to see that stretch of railings being replaced.”

Coast Road Alliance councillor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna commented:

“It is great to see this. I was very excited when I saw Coast Road railings on the agenda. I thought we were going to get a programme stretching along the whole coast. The coastal councillors have been going on for years, never mind recently.

“It is great to see this. We need to just keep it rolling so that they will eventually get it done along the coast.”

Braid DUP Councillor Beth Adger suggested that the Probation Board could provide clients to paint railings on the Coast Road.

Coast Road Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown asked for the council to continue to work with DfI to replace the remainder.

Operations Director Philip Thompson stated:

“A lot of the railings at Coast Road are in a bad state of repair and could not start to paint them but if we could get some in a good condition, it is a good option.

“In terms of the wider Coast Road, Drains Bay to Larne, the agreement is that we are responsible for access, looking after railings on steps. Railings on the Coast Road are there as a road safety feature to protect cars from going over the edge. DfI is responsible for maintaining the railings.”

He indicated that the council is “looking to do additional repairs in Carnlough”.

Knockagh DUP Councillor Marc Collins noted a 100-metre section of railings between Fisherman’s Quay and Downshire in Carrickfergus that “looks terrible by comparison” to the others and asked for it to be brought to the attention of DfI.

He was told that the railings from Carrickfergus Castle to Fisherman’s Quay are owned by the council and the authority has been looking into ownership of the remaining section.

Knockagh Ulster Unionist Councillor Andrew Wilson highlighted a section at Rhanbuoy in Carrickfergus which also needs attention.

Carrickfergus DUP Councillor Cheryl Brownlee noted that it is at one of the entrances to the town and “looks terrible”.

Cllr Smyth told the meeting: “I met with Roads Service which said they owned land and railings on Coast Road from Carnlough to Glenarm Road. They said it may take three to five years to replace the railings.

“They were going to try to do a strip of the worst railings and may replace the worst railings this year.”

Coast Road Ulster Unionist Councillor Maureen Morrow indicated that there is a conservation order on railings in Drains Bay and would have to be replaced with the same style adding that there are two different styles which has presented a problem previously.

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