A dedicated ‘Public Realm’ website to keep businesses impacted by the streetscape scheme up to date with what’s happening is due to go live.
Details of the new online communication tool for town centre traders were contained in a report to Mid & East Antrim Borough Council’s Economic Growth & Development Committee.
The local authority had requested a website (www.ballymenapublic.com) be developed by the contractor for the works after affected businesses identified the need for communication on “what is happening, when it is happening and the measures planned to ensure customer access to shop units”, according to the Council report.
Three weeks into the implementation of the £4m scheme and works are underway on each of the town’s four core streets - Church Street, Wellington Street, Ballymoney Street and Broughshane Street.
The report points out: “The nature of Public Realm schemes can cause a degree of disruption and it will be Council’s intention to work with stakeholders as far as possible to minimise the impact of works through regular engagement and constant review.
“To date there has been an appreciation that matters are resolved quickly and there is a willingness to accommodate where possible. While we will collectively continue with this regular liaison engagement process we are fully aware that this approach may not keep all businesses happy moving forward.”
The recommendation of the report to the committee was that Council continue to liaise with businesses and customers, in particular, the meeting of the Council’s Senior Responsible Officer with traders, documenting issues and resolving them where possible “on an individual basis”.
It also recommended that signage be installed on barriers stating ‘Business As Usual’ and that a PR campaign be led by Council in partnership with traders.
However, after being presented at committee level, the report must go before Council’s full meeting in July for ratification.