There has been a mixed reaction to news of a £310,000 scheme in Limavady which started this week to improve one of the town’s main streets.
The Department for Social Development, in conjunction with Department for Regional Development’s Roads Service, is implementing the public realm scheme on Catherine Street Limavady.
The street will have new paving, drainage, street furniture and resin bound tree pits along the entire length of the street. The wooden slated street furniture will match the products used on the recently completed Market Street scheme.
The project will be phased to “minimise disruption” and take roughly three months to complete. Work will be suspended over the Christmas and New Year period to “facilitate traders and users of the street over this exceptionally busy period”, said a spokesperson.
On hearing details of the scheme at last week’s council meeting, members asked representatives from DRD and DSD if work could be done after trading hours and at weekends. Representatives assured members they would speak with each business to let them know what they would be doing.
SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle welcomed what he described as “significant investment” in the town. He wondered how businesses would be affected, such as taxi operators and street traders. He also asked if people with disabilties would be considered in the scheme works.
“Other than that,” he said, “it’s great news.”
Sinn Fein’s Brenda Chivers asked why Catherine Street had been chosen over Main Street, and why couldn’t work be done in the long evenings over the summer as opposed to the months heading towards Christmas.
With regards to street traders, a Council officer told members there was an area on Main Street where trading can take place but wasn’t used by many. He said it may be worth talking to the street traders on Catherine Street about that option.
Colr. James McCorkell said if there was the same degree of consultation on Catherine Street that was carried out on Market Street during a similar scheme “it should go well”.
“It should be brilliant,” he added.
Businesswoman, Helen Carten of ‘Finishing Touches Too’ welcomed the news and said anything that tidied up the area was good. “I’m delighted,” she said. “That area needs something. There are a few premises that are not occupied on Catherine Street and it is one of Limavady’s most prominent streets. Because the town has a one-way traffic system everyone sees it, so this should be good.”
Another trader said anything to tidy up Catherine Street was a welcome gesture, but hoped that once the scheme is complete there would be no other works by other companies.
Another local shopkeeper said he hadn’t been consulted about the scheme and feared he could lose trade as a result of it. “If they just told us what they were doing, where and when, but it’s the not knowing that is the worst,” he said. The trader said where his business is situated depends heavily on passing trade.
“If people can’t get pulled in, they won’t bother coming to my shop, so I am worried about that.”