THE inspectors’ report reveals the unhappiness among some local UUP and DUP members at the proposed road scheme.
Dungannon DUP councillor Samuel Brush told inspectors that the scheme was “unnecessary”, arguing that upgrading the existing A5 “would service local residents much better and cause less upheaval”.
In a lengthy objection to the road, he said that it was “a serious waste of public funds to bulldoze a roundabout built a short time ago, and replace it with a bridge”. And in a strong criticism of the Executive, he said that there had been “no evidence provided by government to justify almost £1 billion of taxpayers’ money on this scheme”.
He added: “The negative impact on up to 400 agricultural holdings cannot be over-stated. Many will be rendered uneconomical, leading to job losses in the most vital sector of Ulster’s economy.”
Dungannon UUP councillor Robert Mulligan also objected strongly to the need for the scheme and how the department had approached the issue.
He said that the Aughnacloy to Ballygawley section of the dual-carriageway was “an unnecessary waste of public funds and disruption to the local community”.
He said that “the failure of the department to carry out an impact assessment on the scheme is verging on gross misconduct” and added that the traffic figures at Aughnacloy and Newbuildings “fall short of those required to justify this scheme”. Mr Mulligan added that the visual impact on the landscape would be “immeasurable” with damage to both plants and wildlife.
Fellow UUP member Winston Duff, who unsuccessfully stood for the party in last year’s council elections in Dungannon, told the inquiry that both “he and his party (Ulster Unionist) oppose the A5 western transport corridor”.
Mr Duff said: “A dual-carriageway is not justified.”