Comber Greenway: Potential

Oral Answers to Questions — Regional Development – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 22nd February 2016.

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Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton DUP 3:15 pm, 22nd February 2016

T3. Mr Newton asked the Minister for Regional Development whether she recognises the potential of the Comber greenway. (AQT 3533/11-16)

Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP

I thank the Member for his question. That greenway is close to my heart, given that it falls within my constituency. There is tremendous potential in developing greenways across Northern Ireland, and not just the Comber greenway. I am keen to harness that potential to deliver a network that provides safe and convenient traffic-free routes in order to increase sustainable travel and opportunities to improve health and well-being by using recreational areas such as that. I was recently in Edinburgh and Holland, where I was able to see what they have made of their greenways and their potential.

I am developing a strategic plan for greenways across Northern Ireland. The Comber greenway has potential, given the large catchment area and the links to the new Connswater Community Greenway, which I also had the opportunity to visit recently.

Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton DUP

I thank the Minister for that answer. She mentioned the Connswater greenway, which she has seen. Is it her intention that the Comber greenway comes up to the same standard as the Connswater greenway.

Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP

I thank the Member for his question. Of course I would like that to be the case. As he said, I visited the Connswater greenway. It really is something very special, and I recommend anyone who has not had the opportunity to see that work as it progresses to go to the area. In the first instance, I see opportunities for enhancements in lighting on the Comber greenway and for better signage and links to communities off the greenway. I want to explore the best way to do that and, for the Comber greenway in particular, greater links with councils. I have given my support to a Sustrans application for EU funding to increase usage of the Comber greenway, and I hope to see the benefits of that.