‘Our town centre is struggling’ says Mayor

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The town centre is struggling, according to first citizen, Mayor of Coleraine, councillor George Duddy.

His comments came last Tuesday night at a planning committee meeting, as members discussed an application for a new store at the Riverside Regional Centre in Coleraine.

The application, by Kelvin Properties, who own the Riverside Centre, is for a proposed extension to Unit 17 to permit the sale of convenience and comparison goods.

Planners refused the application as the applicant had not looked at alternative sites in the town centre. Three objection letters were also received about the application.

Independent councillor Claire Sugden requested an office meeting about the application, her proposal was seconded by DUP councillor Knight-McQuillan.

Mayor, councillor George Duddy said that members should be supporting the town centre and agreeing with the planners: “The town centre is struggling. They have not demonstrated that they have looked at other sites.

Agreeing, Independent councillor Christine Alexander said: “We are always complaining about vacant shop units, to encourage a company outside the town centre would be contributing to the demise.” She went on: “Perhaps we should be looking at parking charges to encourage shoppers into the town.”

Members agreed to hold an office meeting about the application.