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Coalisland traders fury at traffic plan

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

THE secretary of Coalisland Traders' Association says many businesses in the town are steadfastly opposed to plans to introduce one way traffic on Main Street in the town.

Raymond O'Neill, who operates a business on Main Street in the town, says any decision to proceed with the plans would be "ignoring the public opinion".

He also stated his belief that "residents and businesses are being left with no voice".

And, if the Council expresses its desire to proceed with the plan, Mr O'Neill says a group to oppose the move would have to be formed.

Mid-Ulster District Council says "further consultation will be undertaken in due course", while Sinn Fein Councillor for the area, Joe O'Neill says the majority of locals favour changing to a one way system.

A meeting was held last week with Councillors at which three proposals were put forward.

One of the three was dismissed immediately, which featured one way traffic throughout much of the town centre, including as far as Barrack Street.

The other two proposals remain on the table, one featuring two way traffic and the other featuring one way traffic in the town.

It is this proposal which has drawn the criticism of Mr O'Neill.

"There are dozens of businesses on that street and numerous private residences and this is not going to be of any benefit to them," he told the Courier.

"The Council is trying to blind people with Chinese slate and street furniture that can't be vandalised. That's just superficial.

"The plans would leave you with just one parking bay for a lorry on Main Street.

"With these new plans, if they come into force, I believe it's going to close businesses."

However, Sinn Fein Councillor Joe O'Neill says that, while nothing is set in stone, as yet, the introduction of a one way system would be preferable but says further consultation is also necessary.

He said: "I proposed that we go to the residents and the traders for another meeting and I believe that's going to happen in the next few weeks.

"Nearly everybody at the first consultation was looking for the Main Street to be a one way system because it will help make it more pedestrian friendly.

"It doesn't maybe favour everybody but it favours the majority people I've been talking to."

A Council spokesperson said: "Following the period of public consultation at the end of last year on design concepts for the Coalisland public realm scheme, work has been on-going to progress technical aspects of the project.

"Further consultation will be undertaken in due course, after which a preferred option for the scheme will be considered."

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