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Banbridge ‘falling behind’ other towns.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Banbridge ‘falling behind’ other towns. thumbnailOne of the ideas is to reopen Linenhall Street in Banbridge as an entry road to town.

Banbridge town centre is "a place of poor quality," according to its own council members.

And as a result of the town centre being "forgotten about" by council, it has become "a place of patchwork of mismatched materials, poor quality street furniture and fixtures".

Those were the comments made after the town's Chamber of Commerce expressed the view to council that Banbridge is "falling behind other towns in the borough who have received significant investment and improvements in recent years".

Council's arts, events and town centre manager Mechelle Brown is now working to develop the town centre in line with the Banbridge Masterplan and highlighted to councillors what needs improved.

Councillors who sit on the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee meeting were informed last month that Banbridge needs "a town centre-wide development scheme".

While the town has been subject to several public realm schemes over the past 18 years, it now transpires that some streets continue to remain in a "very poor condition".

"There is a number of smaller streets connecting the car parks to the town centre, these provide both vehicular and pedestrian access and they require significant improvement as they send out negative first impressions," the committee was told.

Among the future proposals for the town include re-opening Linenhall Street in the town which has been closed off since Commercial Road was opened.

"This could be reviewed with the potential to open the road to vehicles allowing one-way traffic into the town centre. The area which is currently in poor condition could be improved to create an attractive entrance to the town with possible additional car parking spaces," councillors were told.

However, UUP Councillor Ian Burns said "it would be necessary to consult with the businesses there if opening the other way would be appropriate".

The difficulties with 'The Cut' in Banbridge were also raised by Ms Brown who would like to see two to three events each year being held below the Downshire Bridge in 'The Cut'.

It follows a successful Twilight Market last year which was described as being a "major boost for the town and received favourable support from both the business and wider community".

Other areas of proposed improvement include providing more attractive shared space and introducing a lighting scheme in the town as there is currently little or no feature lighting within the town centre to define heritage building and special features.

Councillors will be presented with a transportation study later this month which will provide them with the necessary information in order to make a decision as to how to progress development projects within the town centre.

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