THE Sinn Fein MP for Mid-Ulster says that if the proposed public realm work to Coalisland isn’t a success, it “can be reversed”.
And he believes opposition to the scheme, led by the Chairman of the town’s Traders’ Association, is not representative of “all traders in the town”.
Francie Molloy has reiterated his and his party’s support for the £2.75 million project earmarked for the town, which would see the entirety of Main Street become one way.
Raymond O’Neill, the Traders’ Association chair, said the plans would “decimate” the town’s historic Main Street and create a bottleneck at the Lineside.
He also said that traders along Main Street, who contribute around a quarter of a million pounds in rates every year, were concerned by the plans.
However, Mr Molloy says work needs to be done in the town and he sees the proposed public realm works as the ideal way to do it.
“I know there’s some concerns from some traders,” Mr Molloy told the Courier. “I don’t think that individual represents all traders in the town.
“The present system is not working, people recognise work needs to be done and there has to be a means of improving on what there is at the minute.
“Most of the time the two eay system doesn’t work and we think it’s worth a try [to switch to one way traffic]. It doesn’t change the world to try it. All of this can be reversed.”
While funding sources have not yet been fully finalised, supporters of the scheme are optimistic the plans will progress soon.
The plans got a boost last month when proposals for a raft of work in the town centre got the go ahead from planners at Mid-Ulster District Council.
That included the introduction of what is described as “high quality” natural stone paving, formal parking bays, carriageway resurfacing, street furniture, landscaping, signage, street lighting, festive lighting and drainage.
And these will be put in place throughout the town at Main Street, The Square, Dungannon Road, Barrack Street, Lineside, Barrack Square, Stewartstown Road, Station Road and Washingbay Road.
Formal approval for significant changes to be made to the layout of the town centre as part of the scheme were given the go-ahead by the Council back in June.