Letterkenny Town Council aims to revise an urban renewal plan for the Lower Main Street area of the town which was originally drawn up by the late planning official, Gaye Moynihan.
Following a proposal from councillor Dessie Larkin at Monday night’s meeting of the Local Authority calling for an extension of the Town Regeneration Project into the neglected bottom half of the town, councillor Pascal Blake claimed that many traders in the vicinity were “unhappy” with the situation in regard to business levels and the immediate environment.
Both councillors Blake and Jim Lynch highlighted ‘The Village’ plan devised by the then Senior Executive Planner, Ms. Moynihan in 1994 and incorporating a proposed gate tower, public garden, and a new car park.
Landscaping proposals at the time, reinforcing the village character of the area, involved employing stone slab paving, cobbled road surfaces, low lamp standards and bench seating. The plan had also sought a specific colour scheme to be devised by a firm of architects for all of the street properties in Lower Main Street.
While councillors this week hailed the regeneration project that had transformed the Upper Main Street, there was full support for the proposal from cllr. Larkin that a similar programme was required to bring the area below the Market Square into equal standard.
“The bottom of the town is calling out for it,” he insisted.
Cllr. Larkin recalled former days when the area boasted a number of coffee shops and restaurants and small shops. He went to praise the initiative of the proprietor of the Station House Hotel which had helped generate significant business in the locality.
But the Lower Main Street needed regeneration and funding should be secured to put a project into operation.
Seconding the proposal, cllr. Tadhg Culbert said Lower Main Street was every bit as important as other areas in the town and a plan should be put in place to revise the area.
“There are some down there who think they are second class citizens and I would not like to think that we, as a Council, are endorsing that.”
Also backing the motion, cllr. Lynch recalled the village plan devised by the late Ms. Moynihan which he labelled “brilliant” but which had never been followed up on. He highlighted the heritage of the Lower Main Street and the existence of former businesses which had helped make the area a focal point.
Cllr. Blake also referred to the urban renewal plan of 1994 which had pinpointed proposed environmental changes to the area.
“Sadly, Lower Main Street has been neglected and a lot of traders are very unhappy with what is going on,” he claimed, calling for the village plan to be revised.
Support for the motion also came from councillors Tom Crossan, who suggested they should incorporate any plan into the “new” part of town, and Victor Fisher who agreed the area “badly needed” an upgrade.