Tentative proposals to introduce a one-way system to Market Square, as part of long-term regeneration plans, would, if implemented, shut down Dromore within months, according to at least some local traders.
Proposals within the recently rolled out Draft Town Centre Master Plan for Dromore, commissioned by the Department for Social Development, envisage a one-way traffic flow facilitated by constructing a new road linking Church Street, in the general vicinity of the former Northern Bank, to Gallows Street, where the short-stay car park currently exits.
Elsewhere among locals, whether for or against, the proposals, in common with much of the ambitious draft plan, are being considered “pie in the sky”, but for some traders the smallest prospect of a one-way system is causing concern.
“It’ll kill this town,” said one, who did not want to be named. “I’m sure it will all look lovely but the town will be shut within six months.”
Claiming a fall in trade of as much as 70% on the few occasions in the past when a temporary one-way system was introduced at Market Square, he added: “They’re going to desolate this town. There’s not enough traffic; yes, it can be bedlam for 10 or 15 minutes at peak times but after that there’s nothing.
“If they put in a one-way system I’ll be moving out of town.”
Distributed by way of a leaflet giving notice of public consultation (now underway and due to close on Wednesday, January 28) the plans would make Church Street a one-way exit off the Square.
Incoming traffic from Banbridge Road and Lurgan Road would divert along the new link road and onto Gallows Street, where it could turn in either direction.
Entering the Square from Gallows Street would be by way of left-turn only, with the option then to exit at Princes Street (two-way) Mount Street (two-way), Bridge Street (one-way) or via the reprioritised Church Street.
Traffic entering the Square from Mount Street could not directly access Gallows Street; nor could traffic entering the Square from Princes Street, though drivers could still join Gallows Street via Cross Lane, which would remain two-way.
One trader, who again did not want to be named, said he only became aware of the plans by luck and he claimed to know of several local houses to which consultation notices had not been delivered.
Despite recent articles in The Leader and the availability of the wider proposals at Dromore Leisure Centre from November 28 until January 28, he said he felt locals had not been properly informed and not enough had been done to publicise the plans.
Of the proposed one-way system he said: “I would say next to no-one in this town knows about it; certainly, anyone I have spokesn to says they didn’t know about it.
“Parts of this masterlan are exciting; bits of it are wonderful, but a one-way system will ruin this town.”