Opening and closing times at interface gates in part of Belfast could be harmonised under plans being considered by the Department of Justice.
The barriers are currently opened and closed at a range of different times and on different days, but officials say they are consulting with groups and local reps about making the system more uniform.
One source familiar with ongoing conversations about the issue said it is important people living close to the gates are consulted.
They added: “On the face of it, it’s a great idea and makes sense, but people who live next door to these things need to be brought along with the whole process. When it comes to consulting with people, the DoJ doesn’t always have a great track record.
“The DoJ must be spending a fortune having a van driving about all these gates at different times of the day opening and closing them, so some sort of standardisation makes sense.
“But if there’s money saved will it be ploughed back into the communities living at interfaces or go straight to the Treasury.”
Gates being considered for the standardisation include Townsend Street which opens Monday to Thursday 7am to 5.30pm and until 6pm on Friday. It remains closed at the weekend.
Also in the mix is Northumberland Street which opens 6.30am until 6.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am until 3pm on Sunday.
A DoJ spokesman confirmed harmonisation plans are being discussed.
They added: “The Falls Shankill Community Forum focuses on the lower Shankill and Falls areas, encompassing Townsend Street, Northumberland Street, and North Howard Street; which are all gated roads.
“Discussions will continue to take place at the Forum regarding the opening times of all three streets.
“Any proposals to extend opening times brought forward by the Forum will be the subject of consultation with local stakeholders.
“The Department of Justice is also discussing with local representatives the opening times of pedestrian gates along Duncairn Gardens and community consultation will take place in the coming weeks.
“The Department remains keen to engage residents regarding the opening times of any gates for which we are responsible, with a view to securing a reduction in the restrictions imposed by such gates.”
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