The proposed Public Realm Enhancement plan for Ballaghaderreen have received a mixed response from members of the business community in the town following a presentation by BDP Consultants during a public webinar last week.
The plan would see the creation of a mini roundabout in the centre of the town, and the introduction of a one-way traffic system for the Chapel and Cathedral Street areas.
The plan would mean a reduction of car parking spaces something which local businessman and Sinn Féin Cllr. Michael Mulligan has said would not only impact on customer parking but also deliveries.
Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane recently raised her concerns regarding the plan in Dáil Éireann, and said it “flies in the face of schemes like the ‘Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which puts an emphasis on engagement and consultation with property owners.
“I just don’t see how this plan can be positive, maybe it could be at a reduced level,” she said this week.
“It involves the removal of car parking spaces, and having to rely on car parking at the very bottom of the town will be a problem for people with disabilities.
“Businesses and residents in the Square also haven’t been consulted about these plans. It’s costing €3 million which is an awful lot of money that is badly needed elsewhere in Ballaghaderreen,” she said.
However, local businessman Sajjad Hussain says the plans had received widespread support from the business community.
“There is some misinformation around these plans. I think it is a very good project and consultations started more than a year ago. There were two meetings and sixty or seventy people attended.
“If you walk through Ballaghaderreen now, every second shop is empty. A new seating area and flower beds and things like this would be a boost to the town and attract people to Ballaghaderreen,” he said.
Mr. Hussain said that while there would be a reduction of parking spaces, loading bays and disabled parking would remain and the development could only benefit the town.
“Just because we have this development doesn’t mean we can’t push for other services (and investment). There is no doubt we must push for everything we can get for Ballaghaderreen. I’m here on the ground and I attend most meetings and nobody I have spoken has objections. The plans are not final but they have highlighted improvements we can make. We need this…it would be a shame if it didn’t happen,” he said.
The plan is expected to be completed for submission for a Part 8 planning application by the end of next month. June 8th is the deadline for public submissions.