PEOPLE in Strabane are finally going to have their say on the multi-million pound public realm development for the town centre.
First mooted prior to the review of public administration and the advent of the super councils, the long-awaited improvements will see a number of streets and facilities completely revamped. Proposals include major developments on Railway Street, Abercorn Square, Market Street, Bridge Street, Church Street and Butchers Street.
The cost of the proposed improvements is expected to reach £2.5million and the extensive public consultation process will kick off at Strabane Library on May 25 from 10am until 8pm. This process is expected to be organised by council staff.
When contacted this week in relation to the developments, independent councillor in Strabane Paul Gallagher urged local people to become involved with the consultation process.
“Any development that will enhance the town centre has to be a positive thing,” Cllr Gallagher said.
“Developing the arterial route through the town will only increase footfall and you would imagine the improvements might also help business and even tourism.
“Definitely, it’s something everyone should be involved in.”
This newspaper further understands that Derry City and Strabane District Council has already submitted a planning application for the same. Details within the proposal include re-surfacing of footpaths with natural stone, replacing the existing concrete kerbs, the relocation of the bus stop and taxi rank from Abercorn Square, upgrading street furniture, the planting of semi-mature trees and the replacement of the exiting toilet block.
Cllr Gallagher continued, “It’s good news for Strabane, residents and traders. It’s a long time coming and it might be over-due but at least now it looks as though it’s going to become a reality.”
When contacted regarding the consultation a spokesperson for council said, “Council is currently working in partnership with the Department for Communities on a project to revitalise and transform areas of the public realm within Strabane town centre. Council have begun the process of consultation with the relevant planning consultees in relation to the design and is currently developing a strategy to consult with the business community and wider public in the coming weeks.”
The spokesperson added that this public realm project is one of a number of capital projects of significance in the Strabane area being progressed by the council as part of its Strategic Inclusive Growth Plan.