A Lisburn butcher who is closing his premises at Haslems Lane after three years has called on Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council to do more to attract business into the city and make it vibrant once again.
Paul Graham, who owns Young’s Butchers, will shut up his business during the summer to move into a Henderson’s store at Sloan Street.
Mr Graham claimed he felt his trade was decimated during the Public Realm work which was completed last year.
He was highly critical of the disruption to his trade and claimed work near his shop at the time was supposed to last just three months but continued on for almost a year.
He also criticised the council spending money on a water feature based in the city centre.
The frustrated trader lamented that work outside his store continued at Haslem’s Lane on busy market days
He claims over 50 premises now stand empty around Lisburn - and threats to two major stores, that will be away from the city early next year.
“It is sad to leave here,” he said. “I invested around £10,000 of my own money here in the store but I feel I was simply flogging a dead horse.
“I live in Lisburn and I would be loyal to the city and really do not want to up sticks and move but what can I do? There was all this work done in the city and for what?
“We have a £5m waterfall that is not even working. Lisburn is full of empty shops.”
He said he was forced to shut up shop for two days due to noise and disruption during the Public Realms work.
A spokesperson for Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council said: “LCCC is always disappointed to learn of any business closure but also understands businesses at times choose to relocate to new locations for a variety of reasons.
“With regards to the Public Realm Scheme, all major works were completed at the end of last year. Contractors have been on site from time to time to deal with snagging issues and fulfil contractual obligations which would not be uncommon on a project of this scale.
“The Council continues to put on record its appreciation to businesses and shoppers for their understanding and remains confident the scheme will bring long term benefits and opportunities for Lisburn City Centre and the Council will continue to work with local businesses across the city.”