Call to find way to resolve ‘universally unpopular’ town centre works in Dungannon

The new look Market Square in Dungannon
The new look Market Square in Dungannon

The latest phase of work under the Public Realm Scheme - which has been branded “unviserally unpopular” by a local councillor - is creating new headaches for traders in Dungannon.

Last week, the TIMES reported that users of a website run by Mid Ulster District Council with the aim of promoting the town, reacted with negative comments to an update on how traffic would be affected by the second stage of the work.

A council spokesperson stressed that they had consulted with the public at all stages of the process and moved to reassure shoppers and traders alike that changes to the traffic flow in certain parts of the town were temporary.

The issue is still clearly a talking point, however, as Dungannon Independent Councillor, Barry Monteith, warned that footfall in the town centre is suffering as a result of the first stage of the Public Realm Scheme in Market Square.

“We could be looking at what has been the biggest waste of public money here”, Cllr Monteith told the TIMES.

“I am reflecting the feelings of people visiting the town and working in it. People are extremely dismayed at the condition of the town and the damage that was done in the first phase of the work.”

On the issue of public consultation, Cllr Monteith said he had “continually opposed” changes to the traffic flow and added there had been a “completely radical change to the town for the worse”.

The Independent Mid Ulster councillor called for the council and other interested parties to look at how the situation could be rectified.

“Once the second phase is finished, the job should be to get around the table to get traffic flow and pedestrian access sorted out. The council has already started that process in the Square but we have to get back to a situation where we sort this out, especially since town centre rates are higher than other retail areas.”