Purpose of Public inquiry
The purpose of a Public inquiry into a road proposal is to enable objectors and supporters to present their evidence before an independent Inspector. The inquiry procedure is subject to the rules of natural justice. These rules, developed by the Courts, provide that there must be fairness in the conduct of an administrative process and, in particular, each side must have a fair opportunity to be heard and to hear and question the case against them.
DfI Roads presents its case first by way of an opening statement, followed by the calling of witnesses to give evidence. The DfI Roads witnesses may then be questioned by objectors ('cross-examination') and by the Inspector. The same process is followed by each objector. By this process, the case for and against the scheme is tested.
After the close of the inquiry, the Inspector will produce a report clearly setting out his or her conclusions; he or she does not make a decision, but recommends a course of action.
September 2011 Public inquiry
The Public inquiry commenced on 19 September 2011, in Christ Church Parish Hall, 10 Station Road, Castledawson. A pre-inquiry meeting was held on 15 August 2011.
The Department appointed Mr J A Robb as Inspector and Mr W O'Neill as Assistant Inspector to hold an inquiry to consider the dual carriageway proposal. A pre-inquiry meeting was held 15 August 2011 to help the Inspector and all parties concerned with the inquiry to prepare for the inquiry itself, so as to enable the proceedings to be conducted as efficiently as possible.
The September 2011 Public inquiry was postponed
The inquiry was postponed following receipt of a challenge concerning the evolving Magherafelt Area Plan 2015. The Public inquiry was scheduled to take place after Planning Service adopts the Magherafelt Area Plan.
February 2012 Public inquiry
A reconvened public inquiry sat for 2 days (13 to 14 February 2012) in Christ Church Parish Hall, 10 Station Road, Castledawson.
The February 2012 Public inquiry is closed
- A6 Annaghmore Bellshill junction (2010) - Public inquiry documents
- A6 Annaghmore Bellshill junction (2010) - Public inquiry transcript
- A6 Annaghmore Bellshill junction (2010) - Public inquiry Inspector's report
- A6 Annaghmore Bellshill junction (2010) - Departmental statement
Having carefully considered the Inspector's report and all other recommendations, the Department was minded not to proceed with the proposal described in the draft Vesting Order to compulsorily acquire lands to build the junction.
The Department confirmed that it would:
- submit a new planning application to PlanningNI, seeking planning approval for a variant of the Inspector's recommended junction layout, to connect Annaghmore Road and Bellshill Road to the proposed Toome to Castledawson dual carraiageway
- for the time being defer making a decision on the draft Vesting Order examined at the February 2012 Public inquiry and the planning application