Rail station won’t be relocated

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Portrush train station will NOT be relocated under new regeneration plans.

During last Tuesday’s Leisure and Development Committee meeting, William Cameron, from the Department for Social Development, outlined a number of projects under the Portrush Regeneration scheme.

He explained that his department had committed another £500,000 for work to commence on resort’s train station, and other public realm projects.

In his presentatio,n he praised the seaside town’s transformation so far, while outlining future projects in the run up to The Open Golf championships in 2019.

One of the main regeneration projects, which was welcomed by councillors, was the design and the upgrading of the Eglington Street station.

In previous discussions, Translink, Council and other officials had considered relocating the station to an out of town area.

However, Mr Cameron revealed that following further discussions, Translink had gone against the move, and more towards redeveloping the iconic building.

Councillor Norman Hillis praised the decision: “Moving the station would have been really expensive and I wasn’t happy with it.

“We are trying to bring people into the town and not out of it. I think redeveloping the existing building would be great news.”

Mr Cameron explained that the scheme was at the “very early stages”.

He continued: “We are still not sure whether to develop a new site or redevelop the existing building, however the station will not be moved out of town.

“We do want something iconic to be built before The Open. In a few weeks or months we will have a better picture as to what Translink want in the present location.”

Councillor Hillis reiterated: “It’s a great location and a fantastic building which offers a real piece of history. This building has been there for many years and it has become a landmark. My only concern is that we are working with land that is not in Government’s hands. However I’m really enthusiastic about the whole thing.”

Also welcoming the news, Deputy Mayor, cllrDarryl Wilson added: “I wish The Open was coming to Ballymoney. I’m envious of the work, but delighted. Portrush is the jewel in our tourism crown. I commend the work you’re doing.”

Councillors George Duddy and Ian Stevenson also expressed their delight that the station was not moving.

Cllr Stevenson added: “I bet older people are pleased. They don’t have to walk a mile or so to get into Portrush now the station is staying where it is.”

Alderman Maura Hickey also welcomed the news, despite backing the original Masterplan to move the station: “I was one of those who believed in the Masterplan to move it. I thought it would make a nicer view for people on the train coming into the town.”

Mr Cameron reassured councillor Hickey that “something would be done with the wall into the town to improve the view.”