The planners behind Dungannon’s Public Realm Scheme are facing a backlash after almost 500 people signed an online petition to return the town’s Market Square to its original layout.
The petition, on the website you.38degrees.org.uk, has called for the town centre to be ‘returned to its former glory’, followed by the claim that shoppers and visitors were deserting the square because of the new layout.
Supporters of the petition have posted comments such as ‘the character of many old towns have being swamped by planning disasters’, and ‘I think the clown that planned this needs to have a drive /walk around Dungannon to see the mess that has been made.’
Other supporters said they would shop in Craigavon or Cookstown instead because of the changes.
By Friday morning, a total of 443 people had signed the petition.
Major plans to overhaul the town centre, which could involve moving the war memorial back to its original location and returning the traffic flow to a circuit of the square, are expected to be unveiled by the summer.
Mid Ulster Council is pushing forward with the radical proposals to change the town centre lay-out after bowing to public anger over the town’s £2m Public Realm Scheme revamp.
Among the proposals, which will only be agreed after new traffic and pedestrian studies and full consultation with traders, shoppers and pedestrians, are plans have two lanes of traffic going up both sides of the square.
Independent Republican Councillor Barry Monteith, who branded the current lay-out ‘a death trap’ and the ‘least friendly pedestrian centre in the North’, called for the town to be returned to its original traffic flow.