‘Significant Interest’ In Preliminary Proposals For £2.5M Maghera Public Realm
The level of interest in the preliminary proposals for a £2.5M public realm scheme in Maghera has been described as significant by Mid Ulster District Council.
Local residents and businesses fed back their views and comments online, as well as via an information session held last week (27 November), considering the designs which include new paving, street lighting, planting and street furniture, as well as proposals to address substandard footpath widths, poor pedestrian access and traffic flow issues.
The introduction of a one-way system on Upper Main Street to increase traffic flow and ‘green light’ time, drew particular interest from local people, as did other proposals for widened roadways, a new mini-roundabout at the junction of Fairhill and Hall Street and an improved junction at St Lurach’s Road and Hall Street, both to improve access and vehicle turning capacity.
The existing narrow footpaths in the town which would be widened under the scheme to ensure proper and safe access for pedestrians and users with disabilities, were also the subject of discussion, along with the re-configuration of on-street car parking which would result from the footpath improvements.
Councillor Martin Kearney, Chair of the Council, thanked local people for taking the time to engage:
“This scheme would be a substantial investment in Maghera and it’s important that local people input into the designs at these early stages, so the significant interest which has been shown is very welcome.
“There were lots of views expressed on the one-way system in particular and the changes to on-street parking which would be required to modernise roads and footways to meet current standards and public expectation in terms of accessibility.
“All the feedback will be considered as we move towards the next stages of the project”.
The proposed public realm scheme extends the length of Main Street, taking in parts of Coleraine Road, Station Road, Meeting House Avenue, Tirkane Road, Church Street, Glen Road, Hall Street, Bank Square and St Lurach’s Road.
The latest feedback will be reviewed and where necessary the proposals will be revised. The scheme is subject to an Economic Appraisal and the outcome of a funding application with the Department for Communities (DfC). If funding is confirmed, the project will move to planning application stage with further public consultations, followed by procurement. The anticipated start date of any scheme is early 2021.