Council responds to Public Realm concerns

Maureen Barr  of Maureen's Chip Shop with staff member Kate O'Neill and John McCrum of Prime Cuts Butchers on Broughshane Street, Ballymena. INBT 23-904H
Maureen Barr of Maureen's Chip Shop with staff member Kate O'Neill and John McCrum of Prime Cuts Butchers on Broughshane Street, Ballymena. INBT 23-904H

Mid & East Antrim Council will maintain regular contact with Ballymena businesses impacted by the Public Realm works now underway, a spokesperson for the local authority has said.

However, the owner of a town centre chip shop has expressed fears over the impact the works could have on her business given the duration of the scheme.

Maureen Barr says she was horrified to learn that footpath and roadworks outside her Broughshane Street premises could last up to six months.

The Council spokesperson pointed out that the objective for Public Realm work is to make the town “fit for purpose for the next 15 to 20 years” and added that in the development plans for the scheme, local businesses were consulted.

It was also pointed out that a senior officer will be meeting once a week with traders to take on-board issues and that council is keen to hear any other issues from traders as they arise.

The spokesperson said: “In terms of the actual works, the contractor will be ensuring access is available to any shop door, and bridges (similar to those in Church Street) will be constructed to ensure customers have full access to business premises. Safety barriers will be erected to protect pedestrians from vehicles on the work-side of the street in line with Health and Safety regulations.

“The Contractor must conform to Health and Safety measures at all times which are stipulated on the works license and traffic management plans. Safety barriers between vehicles and pedestrians are a legal requirement.

“Council is happy to work with businesses to address specific issues where possible within current legislation.

“Council appreciate there will be a degree of disruption due to the very nature of the works. We are in regular contact with businesses impacted, along with other agencies, in an attempt to minimise disruption as far as possible,” the spokesperson concluded.

Maureen fears chip shop could take a financial battering