Francie Molloy MP & Cllr. Brian McGuigan pictured in Maghera town centre
THOSE working and living in Maghera are being urged to attend an information session on a multi-million pound “much needed” facelift.
Chair of Maghera Town Forum and Sinn Fein councillor Brian McGuigan says it's an important opportunity to have your say on the future of the Mid Ulster town.
The public meeting, due to take place next week, will discuss Department for Communities preliminary proposals for a new-look town centre as part of a £2.5 million public realm scheme.
The proposed scheme would see the extension of Main Street, taking in parts of Coleraine Road, Station Road, Meeting House Avenue, Tirkane Road, Church Street, Glen Road, Hall Street, Bank Square and St Lurach's Road.
The state-of-the-art plans would also see new lighting, paving, planting and street furniture, and would also address substandard footpath widths, poor pedestrian access and traffic flow issues.
Speaking yesterday Cllr McGuigan said it was time to make Maghera “fit for purpose”.
He said: "We need to make Maghera's town centre fit for purpose in the 21st Century by promoting inclusion and ensuring a welcoming and positive shopping and visitor experience for everyone, including people living with disability.
"This means effectively dealing with sub-standard on-street parking and addressing vehicle congestion etc. We need to have footpaths and walk ways as well as street lighting and street furniture that meet the requirements of legislation aimed at addressing the needs of our many citizens living with disability.
"It is vital that local residents, workers, traders and business people take this opportunity to have their opinions taken fully into consideration by participating in the community consultation which is being facilitated by Mid-Ulster District Council.. This current stage of the consultation process concludes with a public information session on Wednesday, November 27 in Maghera Leisure Centre from 2pm to 8pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Councillor McGuigan continued: "Maghera and its neighbouring townlands' local hospitality and tourism sector are certainly playing their part in terms of leading economic development and regeneration.
“With our unique culture and heritage being celebrated in a way that acts as a key economic driver.
“The town is a gateway to the Sperrins and the North Coast and we need to be enhancing the visitor experience that is offered by way of shopping, dining etc, when attracting motorists and their passengers en-route to such destinations to stop off and avail off our local shops, coffee houses, cafés, restaurants and visitor attractions such as St Lurach's Old Church and The Walled Garden.
"In these times of economic uncertainty caused by the fall-out from Brexit, we must avail off this much needed offer of substantial investment which is being made by the Department for Communities.
“We know that such investment will act as a catalyst for further opportunities regarding investment and economic regeneration in Maghera and and its rural hinterland.
“We only just have to look to Portrush to see that the wider North Coast area has benefited immensely in recent times from such a public realm scheme and the major events that have been hosted in the area.”
Councillor McGuigan says Maghera needs similiar financial investment to stay competitive with the surge in online shopping.
He concluded: “We cannot afford to squander such a golden opportunity for the regeneration of our local community and its economy."
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