The Roundabout at the Diamond, magherafelt.mm10-165ar.
The Roundabout at the Diamond, magherafelt.mm10-165ar.

A MAJOR development company is proposing to remove The Diamond roundabout from Magherafelt and replace it with four sets of traffic lights, the MAIL has learned.

Corbo, ran by Ballymena’s Fairhill Centre owner Sam Morrison, has submitted the proposals along with plans to build a 50,000 square foot supermarket on the Ballyronan Road.

The company, which says it will bring over 400 full and part-time construction and retail jobs to the town if it gets the go-ahead from planners, states it will pay for, and construct, a Traffic Management Scheme for the town centre.

The plans include replacing The Diamond roundabout with traffic lights at the junctions of Moneymore Road, Rainey Street, Broad Street and the Ballyronan Road.

The report, received by planning officials on December 4th, 2011 adds: “New pedestrian crossings will be provided on Rainey Street and Broad Street, thereby enhancing connectivity and town centre safety.

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“The introduction of traffic signals will reduce delays on the Moneymore Road (where extensive delays already occurs) while providing a more equitable traffic solution for the Diamond.

“The introduction of signals also reduces the amount of traffic conflict and should contribute to road traffic safety in the Diamond where a number of slight and serious traffic collisions involving four casualties were recorded by the PSNI in the three years up to March 31, 2010.”

It is understood that Magherafelt District Council has not been made aware of the plans by Corbo.

If given the go-ahead the developer’s proposals would directly conflict with plans in the council’s Public Realm Scheme, which aim rejuvenate and re-energise the town centre.

It will look at Rainey Street, Queen Street, Market Street and The Diamond, Broad Street, Church Street, King Street and Churchwell Lane.

Pedestrian linkages within the town centre and parking both on street and in car parks. The strategy will also consider street furniture and materials, signage and art work within the town centre.

Corbo’s plans are one of four currently submitted by developer’s to bring major supermarkets to the town.

One of the rival plans has been submitted by Merit Investments, a firm owned by the Magherafelt-based Conway family.

Their plans involve a development at Moneymore Road.

The third plan involves demolishing the Forbes Furniture store on the Castledawson Road and building a supermarket in its place, close to the existing Lidl store.

The final plan involves building on agricultural land between Thornhill Avenue and Oakvale Manor. That application has been submitted by RSL Developments, which has an address in Antrim.

Corbo is currently the largest of the firms vying to get planning permission in the town.

Its assets include the Shane Retail Park at Boucher Road in south Belfast and the Cityside Retail Park in north Belfast.

Corbo is also planning a 800,000 sq ft shopping mall in Omagh.