The completion of the public realm works on Rathfriland Street have been welcomed but not without controversy, with one trader describing the work as a nightmare.
This comes after Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland visited Banbridge to view the completion of works.
The scheme aims to enhance a busy commercial area which links to the refurbished Solitude Park and includes new granite footpaths, kerbs, lighting and enhanced parking.
During a tour of the public realm works, the Minister said: “Banbridge is an excellent example of the difference public realm projects can make to our local towns. The completion of the Rathfriland Street project has given new life to a very busy commercial area in the town to the benefit of everyone who works or shops here.
“Last month the Northern Ireland Executive through my Department also provided funding of £170,000 for revitalisation initiatives for Banbridge town centre. Together these two valuable investments in Banbridge will hopefully attract new business and investment to the area.”
He concluded: “Such schemes help build up confidence amongst local retailers and re-energise the future prospects of our town centres.”
Banbridge District Council’s Director of Leisure and Development, Catriona Regan said: “The work which has been carried out in Rathfriland Street has made a huge difference to the area and is a benefit to the whole of Banbridge Town Centre.
“Since its completion, we have received very positive feedback from the businesses that trade in the street and the wider public who visit the town to shop.
“The scheme which was identified within the Banbridge Development Strategy is part of the ongoing plan for town centre improvement and the Council is very pleased that the next phase of works under the Banbridge Revitalisation project have commenced.
“We are pleased that the Department for Social Development is continuing to work with the Council to bring forward new projects identified within the Development Strategy.”
Away from the official line one trader said he is glad to see the works complete but felt it should have been carried out years ago when he and others requested it.
He also said that the ‘repeated’ digging up of the same sections of the road had been “inconvenient” and at times it had been a “nightmare” for customers trying to access local businesses.
The trader also questioned Mr McCausland’s recent visit. He said: “Why didn’t he come up to the area before the works were carried out?”