A £5.2m project which could have helped transform Enniskillen town centre is now in doubt, a leading local businessman has said.
The scheme which involved major developments to Enniskillen town centre is now ‘under review’, according to council chief executive Brendan Hegarty, however, the chairman of Enniskillen Business Partnership, Jonathan Styles feels that the project has ‘come to a grinding halt’.
The ‘public realm’ project centred around improving and revitalising the town centre, and including was a part of the Enniskillen master plan released in November 2012.
Among the proposed developments included improvements to the main thoroughfare in Enniskillen, the redesign and development of the principal areas in the town and the upgrade of the paving. The Buttermarket in Enniskillen, was also set for redevelopment.
A meeting between the partnership and the chief executive took place on Friday, and according to Mr Styles, there was a feeling of disappointment at the update given by Mr Hegarty.
“It was previously valued at £5.2m and now we don’t have any money for it,” Mr Styles said, “This is the first meeting that we’ve had when we’ve been told that the job is in a sector that isn’t funded by DSD (Department for Social Development) and so in other words we have to go outside that sector and look for other funding for it.
“We’re very disappointed, we’ve been to several meetings of the design people and the think tank. There’s certain steps that need to be taken to get a plan like this up and running. You need to plan it, you need to price it, and then you need to put it on the shelf and wait for funding.
“You can understand our disappointment, not only has it come to a grinding halt, but there doesn’t seem to be any money around for it. It’s clear that we’ve come to the end of the road as far as this plan is concerned.”
Chief executive of Fermanagh District Council, Brendan Hegarty, admitted that the project was ‘under review’.
“The original intention was to take the project forward in its entirety as one contract,” he explained, “The council will be reviewing the project in the near future and one of the options will be to deliver the entire scheme over a longer period by phasing the work through separate contracts.”
He also said: “The original project was a £5.2m project that was to be delivered as a single project. It will now be necessary to review this with a view to bringing forward a revised project to be delivered in phases. We will be working with DSD to progress the project during the 2015/16 year until responsibility for Physical Regeneration transfers to councils on April 1 2016.
“In April 2016 the council will get an allocation from the budget available to DSD and the departments’ current position is that it will then be a matter for the council to determine its priorities and to decide how it takes a project forward in Enniskillen, using the allocation made available from DSD.”
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