Cautious welcome given to North Main Street plans

Cautious welcome given to North Main Street plans
BMOR CGI of North Main Street plans

A CAUTIOUS welcome has been given to the proposed plans for the development of North Main Street by traders.

Developers BMOR intend to lodge plans for a mixed use development, which includes 280 student accommodation beds and two new retail units. The amenities include a gym, laundry facilities, a study, a library, communal working areas, and a landscaped external courtyard.

The existing North Main Street site
The existing North Main Street site

Pat Dalton, proprietor of Dalton’s Pharmacy on North Main Street, told The Echo that from a commercial and community perspective the news was welcome. “Obviously we want to hear the voices of the area to make sure they’re happy with it as well, but I would certainly welcome it. It’s better than what’s there at the moment,” he said.

“In general it’s positive news, but I suppose we’ve learned from experience not to get over excited about this kind of news because these things often don’t happen for whatever reason,” he added, citing the Event Centre not yet getting off the ground.

He added there had been rumours also about potential development to the North Main Street shopping centre, but nothing was set in stone. “Until we see concrete being laid we’re not going to get too excited. But if it is true we would welcome it,” he added.

Mick Scully, who runs Murphy’s Pharmacy on the street, said the possibility of development is positive, but added that private rented accommodation could be more beneficial to the area than student accommodation.

“If it turns out as it is it’ll be fantastic for the street. In hindsight I’d prefer to see maybe 50 apartments going in there rather than student accommodation because you’d have people living on the street more permanently,” Mr Scully said.

He said that from previous interactions with councillors on the potential plans, he understood that work was to get underway in September if given the green light. However, he believes that given Covid-19 restrictions the date could be pushed back.

“I need to see the plans in detail, but if the front facade on to the street is as it is, it’s fantastic. I have no objection to student accommodation, but like I say if there were families living on the street permanently it would be much more of an advantage to the street,” Mr Scully said.

He added that he “can’t see any objections from the traders side of things.”

Meanwhile, publican and businessman Benny McCabe said the news of development of this scale on North Main Street is “very welcome,” adding that it “should free up 70 single family homes in the city.”

It is understood that BMOR are also in talks to redevelop the virtually vacant shopping centre, however no plans have yet been formally agreed upon.

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