A NORTH Main Street trader is threatening to withhold his commercial rates from the City Council until he sees some progress on derelict sites cordoned off at the top of the street.
Micheal Creedon, who is the owner of Bradley’s Specialist Off-Licence & Foodstore, said he was considering suspending his rates payments until he sees work being done on numbers 62, 63, and 64 North Main Street, which have been blocked off since last June when number 63 partially collapsed.
“We want them to clean it up,” Mr Creedon said.
“Obviously we would like to see development but in the meantime we want things to be more presentable.
“Nothing has happened since June. It looks like a war zone.”
The North Main Street trader said that paying rates to the council is like someone buying a bottle of wine from him, paying for it, but not actually getting the wine.
He is frustrated by the inaction of the council and said he was sick of empty promises from City Hall.
“City Hall say things will happen, but they never do.”
Mr Creedon said the ongoing issue was affecting business, as well as the potential of North Main Street.
“The reality is we are all trying to do our best. I know it’s about everyone working together, but we are doing our bit and we need to be met halfway.”
The veteran trader said this particular part of the city was very historic and more should be done to accentuate the natural charm and character of the area.
“This is the old town, it should be a bigger attraction, there should be a tourist trail along the street, but we are being ignored.”
Treasurer of the North Main Street Traders Association, Patrick Leader of Leader’s Menswear, said progress was at a snail’s pace.
“Communication with City Hall is good but progress is virtually non-existent. The sentiment of local traders is a growing impatience at the lack of progress and the lack of participation by the owners.
“We are more disappointed with the owners than the city council.”
Mr Leader did say the hoarding and dereliction were affecting the potential vibrancy of the area.
“It is affecting business in a negative way because people look at the street as a derelict street.
“We have the North Main Street Shopping Centre, the Munster furniture site and 62, 63 and 64, all in need of development. If that development happened, it could lift the street no end.”
Mr Leader said he would like to see a fine dining restaurant, a medical clinic, or some form of an Aldi or Lidl, that would bring footfall back to the area again.
Mick Scully, who runs Murphy’s Pharmacy on the street, also expressed his disappointment.
“It’s a disaster really. City Hall is fobbing us off. We have had a number of meetings with them and they just keep giving us excuses — GDPR, commercially sensitive information. They say there are plans in place but they don’t tell us what the plans are.”
Mr Scully said the council held monthly meetings from July to October with traders, but nothing has been done since.
“It is very frustrating,” Mr Scully said.
City Council’s director of services David Joyce told The Echo, the issues on North Main Street were a high priority for the council.
“We are working on it on a weekly basis, there have been changes, there have been improvements,” he said.
“As individual issues come up, we are dealing with them as quickly as possible. We are attempting to address the issue of moving the hoarding entirely from the street, to do that requires the internalisation of the support structures on the front of the building and that is what we are working towards as quickly as possible.”
Mr Joyce said he is in constant communication with traders.
“Every single week, I am in contact with traders from North Main Street, answering questions that they might have or giving an update,” he said.
“I have physically gone and met them a number of times and I have email or phone contact with the North Main Street Traders Association representative on a weekly basis.”
Mr Joyce said there was no quick fix to the issue, but they were working towards a solution.
“We are progressing this matter as quickly as possible but, as everyone appreciates, it is a very complex and difficult problem, it’s not an easy simple solution, but there is a solution that we are working towards.”