Unstable derelict building holding up resurfacing work

Unstable derelict building holding up resurfacing work

7 August 2019

A MAJOR road scheme in the heart of Downpatrick has suffered another delay.

A resurfacing scheme for Irish Street has been temporarily postponed over concerns about the state of a derelict building in the area.

It is understood that contractors have been told that there are issues over insurance and that work will not take place until these are resolved.

It’s the latest in a series of setbacks for the much-heralded Irish Street ‘public realm’ environmental improvement scheme.

Work on the £700,000 roads project was due to be completed by March.

In May business owners in the area complained that the delays were causing traffic disruption and seriously affecting trade.

The newly formed Irish Street Steering Group, comprising Downpatrick area councillors and Irish Street traders, was informed of the latest delay last week.

Sinn Fein councillor Oonagh Hanlon said she was disappointed that the completion of the scheme was again being held up.

She said: “It is my understanding that the contractor’s insurance company are seeking assurances on the proposed work.

“I have been liaising with Department for Infrastructure senior officials and they have provided assurances that the scheme will go ahead once health and safety issues are addressed.”

“They confirmed resurfacing will be carried out during off peak times which will be reassuring to the business owners, who already have faced months of disruption.”

Cllr Hanlon said she had been assured that the latest delay will not impact on a wider regeneration scheme for the area.

“This is a welcome assurance as the steering group are currently making plans for the scheme assisted by the Department of Communities and Newry, Mourne and Down Council officials.”

She added: “I will continue to work closely with all agencies to ensure the scheme and resurfacing are delivered efficiently.”

SDLP councillor Dermot Curran also voiced his disappointment that the completion of the scheme was being delayed once more.

“My major concern is that this problem should have been addressed long ago,” he said.

“The delay in the resurfacing work is annoying and I hope that it will not impact on the redevelopment programme for the Irish Street area.”

He added: “This programme is crucial in bringing more business into the heart of Downpatrick.”

A Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said yesterday: “The Department’s contractor has raised safety concerns over the present state of the derelict property on Irish Street, with regard to the type of equipment needed to resurface the street.

“The Department hopes to agree a date with the contractor to complete the resurfacing works on Irish Street before the end of the summer.”