THERE ARE fears that the closing of the footbridge joining Erneside Shopping Centre to Enniskillen town centre will badly affect trade in the county town.
The bridge will be closed from 29th May and will remain closed for five weeks. The structure, which is used by many shoppers in Enniskillen, is a direct link between the busy Erneside shopping centre and the town centre.
The closure – which is occurring at the height of the tourism season – could have detrimental effects for business.
The closure is due to necessary maintenance and painting which is required to keep the bridge in use and is planned to re-opened again by the first week of July.
Jonathan Styles, Manager of Mercers Jewellers, which is situated on Enniskillen High Street, said:
“It is 50/50 as the shopping centre needs the flow of walkers from the town centre, and we need the flow of pedestrians from the shopping centre to come up to our end. It is to everyone’s advantage to have this open quickly, and get the work done as fast as possible.”
Scott Robinson of Blooming Lovely, on Townhall Street believes the timing for the work will have a huge impact on business.
“This will definitely effect the footfall coming up the street, this is something we do not need for our southern and local customers as the street is quiet enough.
If they cannot get across the bridge, they are just going to get into the car and go home because it won’t entice them to go up the town.
“With students off, the town has a bit of a buzz about it, this bridge is probably as important as the traffic bridge, – the timing for this is shocking. They could do this around January when there is less people around, we do not need the town hampered any further or making any more blockages.”
Erneside centre manager, Jim Masterson has apologised for the inconvenience this may cause in the short-term but states “that this work is necessary to ensure customers continue to have a safe route to Erneside.”
The Erneside Shopping Centre will be open for business as usual, but customers are advised to take the Quay Pass Road to access the main entrance of Erneside.
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