Traders in Cookstown have expressed fears over a potential loss of business during a major revamp of the town centre due to start in July.
But the outgoing Chief Executive of Cookstown council Adrian McCreesh has said that disruption will be kept to a minimums during the Public Realm scheme, which will see £3million of improvements.
Part of the plan also includes the re-designation of parking spaces, converting the existing 90 degree parking spaces along the main thoroughfare to 66 degree parking spaces, which will have a knock-on reduction of 40 spaces in the town.
Around 30 traders and business owners raised their concerns during a meeting on Monday night in the Burnavon.
Many of those who questioned the plan, said they feared that disruption caused by the works could put some shops out of business.
“We don’t believe that there will be any long term gain, for the pain that will be caused by this,” said Brian Drumm who owns Select Interiors on William Street.
We want to enhance Cookstown, to create a better experience for those who come to the town to shop, to visit and for those who live in the town.”
“We are going to take the hit here, maybe if there was a reduction in rates, to give us some leeway.”
Mr McCreesh said that while he accepted there was a ‘calculated risk’ with the project, he said the new Mid Ulster council would be working hard to minimise any disruption during the construction works, which are expected to last nine months.
He also said it was vital for Cookstown to push ahead with the realm scheme, otherwise the £2.7m of Stormont funding would be lost to other towns.
“We want to enhance Cookstown, to create a better experience for those who come to the town to shop, to visit and for those who live in the town.”
Responding to another question, Mr McCreesh said there was no provision in the project for pay and display parking meters.