Traders in Larne raise concerns over pedestrianisation plans

Traders in Larne raise concerns over pedestrianisation plans

Public realm proposals for Larne town centre have sparked concerns among traders over access for customers and deliveries.

The issue of access was highlighted in the minutes of a recent report to Mid and East Antrim councillors that had been discussed behind closed doors at a meeting of the Borough Growth Committee, the Belfast News Letter reported.

Councillors have asked officers to re-engage with traders in an attempt to find a solution in a bid to utilise Stormont funding and allow the public realm scheme at Dunluce Street to proceed.

Pedestrianisation would mean the removal of six car parking spaces. It is understood that Dunluce Street had been pedestrianised previously but this had been revoked in 2010.

Several councillors have expressed concern that the street is in a “state of dereliction and very much in need of upgrade to realise its potential”. The report notes that Dunluce Street is also a residential street.

However, no formal objections were received by the local authority during a public consultation at the end of August.

Council minutes have indicated that the street may be opened to allow for delivery vehicles between 8am and 6pm and the installation of bollards could be an option.

It is also proposed to extend the public footpath at Bridge Street, connecting onto Dunluce Street, by removing a further two on-street parking bays.

The council has indicated that the proposed works will be phased, with improvements planned for Dunluce Street first with pedestrianisation at Lower Cross Street in a second phase subject to funding. Access for business deliveries is also expected to be maintained.

Ten per cent of the cost of the improvement works would be paid by the borough council.

Public realm

A previous £2.2m public realm improvement works featuring granite pavements, lighting and seating in other parts of the town centre streets in 2015 did not extend to Dunluce Street and Lower Cross Street.

Commenting on proposals, Larne Lough Councillor Gregg McKeen, Chair of the Borough Growth Committee, said: “I am pleased to see there is the opportunity to do this other works in the town centre. Businesses have been very keen and positive and want to go ahead but some have reservations and concerns.”

He added that council has the opportunity to work to get a solution that suits traders and businesses in the area.

Mid and East Antrim Mayor Councillor William McCaughey said previously: “The existing two car parking spaces on Bridge Street are not regularly used as there is sufficient parking along Point Street that runs parallel to Dunluce Street.

“In addition, with a proposed new hotel development planned for this area in the near future, council believes that this is an opportune time to focus on upgrading Dunluce Street and Lower Cross Street to support the overall regeneration of Larne town centre.

“It is hoped that the regeneration works will act as a catalyst for further private and public sector investment in the area.”

Caption: The proposed public realm works in Larne