THE ULSTER RALLY which begins this weekend will not start or finish in the town centre as originally planned, after some local traders complained that last year’s event disrupted business.
The International event, now into its second of three years in Fermanagh will instead start and finish at Head Street, in close proximity to Enniskillen Library.
Eddie McGovern, Tourism Development Manager at Fermanagh District Council explained that retailers objected to the staging of the start and finish of the rally in the town centre at the Diamond, as last year’s parade disrupted the flow of traffic in the town and reduced the footfall.
“They welcome the rally, but just would prefer the start and finish and the traffic delays associated with it were anywhere other than the town centre.
“Some of the traders objected because last year was a bank holiday weekend and they felt it was a major pre-back to school shopping weekend.”
He continued: “We looked at other options and Head Street was the only suitable option with the timings of the rally. It had to be on that side of the town as the cars are coming from St Angelo.
“We wanted to have some presence in the county town without disrupting business and Head Street was the best compromise. In future areas like Enniskillen Castle and the Broadmeadow will be considered, but for various reasons those weren’t suitable options this year.”
The council and Enniskillen Business Partnership have been in discussions for the last number of weeks on the issue and both parties are satisfied with the final outcome.
“People who want to see the rally cars will go wherever the cars are and shoppers will not be inconvenienced because they will be in shops around the town centre. It is a compromise that everybody is reasonably happy with,” Mr McGovern added.
A representative from the Enniskillen Business Partnership remarked:
“Thankfully common sense has prevailed and we’re very happy to have a positive outcome.”
Although initially stated in the programme that the rally is due to start and finish at Cross Street, this will be held at Head Street, Enniskillen.
The Todds Leap Ulster Rally encompasses 130 competitive miles over 15 stages in the Fermanagh and Tyrone regions.
It is set to kick off at lunchtime on Friday August 15 with a ceremonial start in Enniskillen and finishes back in town on Saturday from 4pm.
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