City centre work is 
hitting local traders

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Businesses in Haslem’s Lane say trade is being decimated as work continues to improve the city centre.

Public realm works, which include resurfacing Bow Street, Market Square and Haslem’s Lane, have been ongoing for some time.

This week businesses in Haslem’s Lane complained that resurfacing work has caused shoppers to avoid the area, with one shop reporting a fall in trade of 75%.

Paul Graham, who owns Young’s Butchers, has even been forced to shut up shop altogether for two days due to the ongoing noise and disruption it has caused.

“Since the work started in January we are down by about 25%,” explained Paul.

“We were initially told the work would be carried out at night but that hasn’t been the case outside my shop.

“I had to close for two days because the access left for the shop was so poor I couldn’t expect my customers to struggle to get into the shop.

The dust and dirt coming under the door was horrendous as well. In the end I closed on the Saturday and Monday but this week has been just as bad.

“In the three weeks since the work began in Haslem’s Lane, I am down 75% in takings.

Nicky Russell from Russell’s Barber Shop said she understood the city centre would look good once the work was completed but she had seen a fall in trade.

“Trade has definitely gone down and people have tried to keep away, especially older people,” she said.

David Doyle, who runs The Lane cafe in Haslem’s Lane, added: “This should have been better organised and scheduled.

As well as the impact on trade, businesses in the area are also concerned about the health and safety of their customers.

This week an ambulance had to be called after a lady fell in Haslem’s Lane on Tuesday (June 24).

“In Haslem’s Lane they left a two foot gap for disabled access,” continued Paul. “I have even seen a man in a wheelchair having to be lifted over the barriers. I was so concerned I contacted the Health and Safety Executive.”

A spokesperson for Lisburn City Council said: “Lisburn City Council appreciates that, during the improvement works, regrettably there will be a period of disruption to local businesses and shoppers; and it appreciates the cooperation of the retailers.

“The Council has regular individual and open stakeholder meetings to ensure that the local businesses in the affected area are kept fully informed of the works programme.

“These meetings also provide an opportunity for local businesses to discuss with the Contractor and professional team any issues that may occur throughout the scheme. The Public Realm Scheme is due for completion at the end of Spring 2015.”

Councillor Alexander Redpath urged anyone adversely affected by the ongoing work to contact their councillor.