THE people of the Edenderry area are angry at the “lack of notice” over the closure of the main square for 24 hours at the weekend - from six o’ clock on Saturday evening.
Residents, churches, motorists and business were not told about the closure until the previous Thursday, and local public representatives insist that was “too late for them to make adequate arrangements”.
The work is being carried out to facilitate the Asda supermarket being constructed at Watson Street-Joseph Street, and while everyone concedes that the work is vital for the area - with the DRD having to pass every stage of the work - the anger is directed at the late notice given by the contractors, John McQuillan’s of Lisburn.
Alderman Arnold Hatch said, “The right hand doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing. I can understand the need for the change in roads layout in Edenderry due to the new Asda supermarket opening next month but there was no excuse for not informing businesses and the public at least 10 days earlier.
“Churches could have informed their congregations the previous Sunday, and businesses could have advised their customers accordingly. The Portadown Times could also have been used to inform the public. The Department may be acting within the legislative requirements but common sense should have told those in charge to let everyone know at least a week ago.
“When I was contacted on Friday morning by local businesses I made several phone calls to see if there would be any flexibility in closure times on Sunday but there was none. The sub-contractor stated that this was not their remit but that the arrangements put in place were between the main Asda contractors and the DRD.”
The giant machines roared into action on Saturday and worked through the night and through Sunday.
Dr Stafford Carson, minister of First Portadown Presbyterian Church, said that the late notice caused real inconvenience for his congregation. “Our usual parking place at Watson Street was cut off, and we had to make last-minute arrangements with a local business to use his Foundry Street car park and use stewards,” he said. “Others from the Killicomaine end had to park well away from church and many walked to church. That did us no harm, but we really should have been given notice.”
He added that the 300 who attend the Christian Endeavour on Saturday night had to make arrangements to park elsewhere, and leader Gilbert Carson said, “It was something of an inconvenience, but we overcame it and everyone managed to make it. Earlier notice would have been nice.”
Councillor Kenneth Twyble pointed out that there would be 24-hour work this weekend, but there would not be as much disruption. “It’s very thoughtless,” he added.”The contractors seem to be able to do whatever they want with the roads serving this new store - they’ve taken over Northway, closed various roads throughout and seem to have little thought for the residents of the area or motorists. There have been so many traffic jams. Thankfully, it will be all over by the end of November when the store is operational. Let’s hope the new traffic schemes works.”
The contractors have insisted that everything they have done has been with the agreement of the DRD, but Mr Hatch challenged all concerned “to show the public some respect and let them know exactly what is going on”.
The Portadown Times contacted the contractors and asked for a response. However, no-one returned our call.
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