We need to unite to save Portavo Reservoir
Friday 27th January 2017
A local property developer last week won a High Court battle with Northern Ireland Water in his wider bid to buy lands at a much beloved North Down beauty spot. Portavo Estates Ltd was held to have a ‘right of preemption’ to a major stretch of the Portavo Reservoir. This judgment of course is subject to Appeal. But this judgment could mean that if Portavo Estates Ltd acquired the land they could decide to completely ban public access from this local beauty spot.
This would impact on walkers, fishermen, environmentalists, photographers and dog walkers. I should point out this is not in any way Northern Ireland Waters fault – they fought the case at the High Court as hard as they could. Nor is it Ards/North Down Councils as they had expressed interest in purchasing the land for the benefit of all residents.
I have worked on this issue for a number of years now and over the years we have managed to see Portavo both protected and retained in public ownership. This recent High Court decision means that Portavo could fall into private ownership and this could mean the public possibly being banned from enjoying it forever. I am in discussion with both NIW and Council Officers to find a suitable resolution to this matter so that all the people of North Down can continue to enjoy this beauty spot and natural wild life sanctuary for generations. Whilst some politicians seem to have given up on the fight I intend to dig in on this issue on behalf of all my constituents