Town footfall strong amid Realm works

Public Realm works are well underway in Ballymena town centre. (Editorial Image.
Public Realm works are well underway in Ballymena town centre. (Editorial Image.

Footfall on town centre streets undergoing Public Realm works remains “strong”, with August comparing well to the same month last year, councillors have been assured in an update on the streetscape refurbishment scheme.

The latest council officer report was made to Mid & East Antrim’s Growth & Development Committee when it met last week in Larne.

Members were reminded at the outset that the scheme aimed to make Ballymena ‘fit for purpose for the next 15-20 years’ and centred on four main streets - Wellington Street, Ballymoney Street, Church Street and Broughshane Street - each broken down into four work sections.

The committee heard that works on the first section on all four streets was 80% complete with the remaining 20% relating to curved kerbs at street ends, special granite slabs for vehicle access points and drainage granite inlays, due at the end of October.

Each section is scheduled for 12 weeks which will see the second sections completed by the moratorium deadline of November 16, the meeting heard.

It was also pointed out that “from lessons learnt” in the first section of works, there had been “a marked improvement in communication from the contractor, evidenced by feedback from visits to businesses”.

Businesses on all affected streets have been updated weekly on current works and works for the week ahead, issues have been quickly dealt with and monthly meetings organised between council officers/businesses and the contractor have been positive to-date, the committee heard.

The committee went on to agree a recommendation that Council officers continue to engage with stakeholders and that a workshop be held to allow councillor input into interpretation signage for the scheme, which is currently at the design stage, with consultation also being undertaken with traders.

Ballymena Public Realm is joint funded by Council and the Department for Social Development amounting to a £4m investment.