Traders in West Street and community groups are among those who want to see the ‘Linkages’ town improvement scheme go ahead in Portadown.
And Adrian Farrell, president of Portadown Chamber of Commerce, said the scheme would be positive for the town, provided it is managed properly to ensure minimal disruption.
The news of the proposed scheme, which will concentrate on the approach routes to the town, was viewed with dismay by some traders last week, who claimed they are still recovering from loss of trade during the public realm works three years ago.
But Craigavon Borough Council has admitted it has ‘learnt lessons’ from the previous works.
DUP Councillor Darryn Causby said he had been contacted by a number of traders in West Street and Brownstown and Edgarstown community groups, who all want to see the scheme go ahead.
He said, “It will provide much-needed car parking spaces in West Street and will also include improvements to the footbridge across the Northway, which has the support of residents on both sides.
“It will tie in nicely with the statues which have just been erected and will enhance the area.”
Gary Kidd of GK Stores in West Street said the extra parking would be a major bonus. “I think the scheme would have long-term benefits for the area, as long as it is done in stages,” he said.
Mr Farrell said he shared the concerns of traders worried about upheaval but said the project would address several areas which have been continually highlighted for improvement over the past number of years.
“In Meadow Lane there are neglected concrete pots, full of weeds, and in the area adjacent to Magowan Car park there are rusting yellow posts. Having brought many visitors from the train station into town, I cringe when I walk through the tunnel and up past this area which will hopefully be enhanced,” he said.
He urged traders to study the plans and said anyone with an interest should contact the council or the consultants.