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A proposed £2.4m public realm scheme designed to improve the appearance and appreciation of Newry Canal and tie together the Co Down and Co Armagh sides of the city looks set to include additional car park provision at North Street, Newry and Corry Square/ Catherine Street, Newry. A public consultation on the project which will receive £2m from the Department of Social Development (DSD) and £400,000 from Newry and Mourne District Council, begins in the Hollywood Arts Centre today (November 28) and runs until December 12. Following this it is anticipated that the project will go on site in April and May 2013. The project will represent a major step forward in the long-term development of the historic canal which in recent times has been put back on the agenda by The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland and the Newry Maritime Association. Works will include the replacement of the existing canal boundary wall from Dublin Bridge to Sugar Island Bridge with a new decorative maritime railing and a new wider granite paved/ kerbed pathway. The project will also provide new decorative street lighting, street furniture, tree planting and public art. However if  is the proposed removal of up to 120 car parking spaces along the canal that is likely to cause the most disquiet. To counteract this it has been confirmed that Newry and Mourne District Council and Newry City Centre Management Partnership (NCCMP) hope to secure the  long term opening of the Council owned Corry Square/ Catherine Street site and North Street Flats site (which opened on Monday for the Christmas period) inn the longer term. The Reporter understands that both areas would charge for parking with revenue being used to maintain the new public realm areas. Up to 40 per cent of spaces in these parking areas is expected to be made available to local businesses at a reduced price. Meanwhile new granite paving in Marcus Square removed and replaced with tarmac by NIE on October 19 has yet to be reinstated. This means that should the tarmac remain in place to early next week then it will have present for longer than the 43 days the granite lasted  – from the official opening of the square by DSD Minister Nelson McCausland in September until NIE site woks on October 19.


Newry Reporter

28th November 2012