‘City centre works programmed to cause minimal disruption’

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's Chief Executive, Dr Theresa Donaldson and Chairman of the council's Development Committee, Alderman Allan Ewart discuss plans for the Lisburn Linkages public realm scheme with Kathryn Jess and Lisburn Street Ambassador Emma Johnston from Emma Johnston Interior Design.
Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's Chief Executive, Dr Theresa Donaldson and Chairman of the council's Development Committee, Alderman Allan Ewart discuss plans for the Lisburn Linkages public realm scheme with Kathryn Jess and Lisburn Street Ambassador Emma Johnston from Emma Johnston Interior Design.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council says a “co-ordinated programme” of works has been developed to ensure the latest public realm scheme in Lisburn causes “minimal disruption” to the city.

Work on the £3.7 million Lisburn Linkages project, which is designed to improve connectivity between key areas of the city centre, officially got under way earlier this week.

The initial phase of the work will see utility companies such as NIE and BT carrying out underground works to improve their infrastructure in the area before the ‘streetworks’ scheme begins.

That phase of the project will involve work to improve the physical appearance of gateways and streets in the following areas: Bridge Street, Antrim Street, Railway Street, Castle Street, Seymour Street and Bachelor’s Walk.

The last public realm project, which cost £5 million and was only officially unveiled in November 2015, caused considerable disruption in and around the city centre, particularly for local traders and shoppers, some of whom have branded the latest scheme “a waste of money”.

But stressing that efforts are being made to keep any disruption to a minimum, Alderman Allan Ewart, Chairman of the council’s Development Committee, said: “Over recent months a co-ordinated programme has been developed to ensure any planned major utility works are carried out in preparation for the future upgrade of paving. This approach will mean a shorter period of works on the ground and minimal disruption to your city.

“The council understands that the co-ordination of all services providers is essential to the success of any public realm works and we are fully committed to enhancing public areas to benefit those who live in or visit Lisburn.”

Council Chief Executive, Dr Theresa Donaldson, added: “It is vitally important that we continue to invest in our city centre as it reaps returns in the improved quality of the environment, as well as in more measurable economic benefits to local businesses. The council, along with the new Lisburn city centre Street Ambassadors (see page 3), will be providing timely updates on the progress of the work and how the vision of the city will be realised through these schemes.”

The initial phase of the scheme will see Morrow Contracts, on behalf of NIE Networks, carrying out work to upgrade underground cables at Castle Street, then Seymour Street, Railway Street, Bachelor’s Walk, Antrim Street and Bridge Street. Various traffic management arrangements will be in place to facilitate the works.

A council spokesperson added: “It is anticipated works will be carried out during normal working hours, 8am – 6pm. Arrangements can be made on site with the contractor for mobility access and to enable deliveries to take place.

“To minimise disruption, further works are planned by BT during the same period. This includes a considerable financial investment in upgrading of infrastructure which will see consumers benefit from even faster broadband.”

The Lisburn Linkages public realm scheme, which is expected to be complete by next year, is funded by the Department for Communities (£2 million) and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (£1.7 million).

Updates on how the work is progressing will be posted on the council’s website and social media pages.