Vesting Orders are statutory instruments that are used to buy, not necessarily with the permission of the owner, land which public bodies require – for example to build roads. Owners are then compensated for the land by the relevant NI Executive Department.
Given large scale infrastructure projects such as the Magherafelt bypass and the Shore Road in Greenisland are ongoing, and the A5 and A6 projects are due to progress in the not to distant future, we undertook to see how much the vesting of the land used for these projects is costing the public purse.
In the last five years, a whopping £14 million pounds have been spent just vesting land for infrastructure projects by the Department of Regional Development – that is before any work takes place to actually construct the projects.
The largest of these projects is the A8 Belfast to Larne Dualling, the vesting of its 394 acres cost taxpayers almost £6.5 million pounds (£6,353,798.05).
The A2 Shore Road project in Greenisland is second, costing £3.24m for just 28.66 acres.
Dunlady Road’s Park and Ride Scheme in Dundonald cost £1.531m for just over 6 acres of land. It is followed by a much larger scheme – the Magherafelt Bypass where the land of 30 landowners was vested at a cost of £1.22m for 83.25 acres.
A huge variance is cost per acre depending on where the land is vested.