Business people and members of the public have been assured that no final decision has been taken on the next stage of the Public Realm Scheme in Dungannon, amid concerns about the project for Scotch Street.
It is understood a meeting held in Dungannon on Tuesday of last week was told of suggestions for the latest stage of work including possibly removing a number of “prime parking spots” at the top of Scotch Street.
No decision has been taken on any preferred option at this point, and indeed, the Council is very aware of the need to continue consultations with all relevant stakeholders before any final decisions are made
The street itself is one of the busiest in the town centre with high volumes of traffic and parking spaces can be difficult to find.
Dungannon SDLP councillor, Denise Mullen, expressed concern at the potential implications for traffic congestion and on businesses in particular if the proposals are given the go-ahead.
Cllr Mullen said she was also concerned that the Shambles Lane area of Scotch Street - which links it with Irish Street and houses a number of businesses - did not appear to have been included in the suggestions put forward at the meeting.
“I would be concerned at the adverse affect that these suggestions could have on the businesses we have in the town”, said the Dungannon councillor.
“Shambles Lane, for instance, is a main walking throughfare and now has several businesses on it, while Babe’s Entry would require lighting and some sort of regeneration in order to make it safe for pedestrians who use it.
“I would also be concerned about the potential for accidents taking place further up the town because drivers at the traffic lights from Irish Street are cutting across there onto Church Street and putting pedestrians and other road users at risk.
“There would be a real need for a right-turn only sign at that location in order to address that problem.”
The TIMES contacted Mid Ulster District Council and was told that no final decision has yet been taken on Phase Two of the Public Realm Scheme.
“The Council is currently considering the design content for Phase 2 of the public realm scheme in Dungannon.
“No decision has been taken on any preferred option at this point, and indeed, the Council is very aware of the need to continue consultations with all relevant stakeholders before any final decisions are made.”
Draft proposals for the second stage of the Public Realm Scheme were open to public consultation at Dungannon Leisure Centre and Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor Centre from the end of January up until March 6.
At the time of the consultation launch, then Mayor Cllr Roger Burton encouraged the local community to view the draft proposals, which were prepared by WDR & RT Taggart.
“The general public and in particular traders are encouraged to come along and view the proposals and feed their comments into the process”, said Cllr Burton.
He added: “This further Public Realm investment is an opportunity for Dungannon town centre to benefit both visually and physically from the proposed works, which will greatly assist in the Council’s continuing efforts to secure and develop Dungannon’s economic future.”
The public consultation boards can still be viewed online at www.dungannon.gov.uk