February start date for plan to transform Ballynahinch

February start date for plan to transform Ballynahinch

12 December 2012

WORK on a £2m scheme to regenerate Ballynahinch town centre could start in early February.

Down Council hopes to appoint a contractor to carry out the work by the end of next month, with the scheme designed to rejuvenate a number of key areas.

The Department for Social Development and the local council are the main funders of the project which, it’s hoped, will act as a catalyst to secure new private investment in the market town.

The regeneration scheme is expected to take up to nine months to complete and includes new paving, street lighting, planters, seating, signs and upgrading a number of crossing points for pedestrians.

There will also be improved disabled access to footpaths across the town, with the area included in the regeneration scheme stretching from the Church Road/Dromore Street roundabout to High Street, Main Street, Harmony Way and Windmill Street.

The entrance to the Windmill Street car park is to be substantially upgraded and business owners hope shoppers will be encouraged to make more use of the facility.

In addition, traders have called for various lanes linking the car park with High Street and Main Street to be upgraded and new signs to direct visitors to shops.

It was confirmed at last week’s meeting of Down Council’s Building Control and Estates Committee that tenders inviting contractors to bid for the work will be published this week.

The bids will be assessed with the preferred bidder chosen by the end of January with work commencing immediately after this.

Council chairman Mickey Coogan said the regeneration scheme will help provide Ballynahinch with a modern look and hopefully pave the way for private sector investment.

He added: “The scheme will provide a major boost for Ballynahinch. Similar regeneration projects in Newcastle and Downpatrick were successful and made a difference.

“I hope that what’s proposed for Ballynahinch is just the start and that other investment will flow into the market town.”