Lyn aims to boost town

picture: Darryl Mooney
picture: Darryl Mooney
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LURGAN Town Centre Manager Lyn McNeill has been out and about in the town, but wants to take this opportunity to introduce herself to all those traders and retailers with whom she has not yet met.

Lyn, who lives locally, knows the town and passionately believes and wants to see the area prosper. She is confident that by working together with the businesses, they can help address some of the difficulties traders and retailers are facing.

The ‘MAIL’ caught up with Lyn and had a chat about the plans put together by Craigavon Borough Council, the town chamber and traders and businesses, on how they hope to regenerate and revitalise the area.

Lyn explained that following consultation in the later part of 2010 the Council drafted the Town Centre Regeneration & Revitalisation Framework.

“This working document which was endorsed by Lurgan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in April is a plan with three strategic themes, Marketing, Events and Promotion, Developing the Evening Economy and Investment in the Retail Experience,” said Lyn.

“We’ve already held a number of town centre events including the town centre celebration day in April and the Staycation event in June. People can expect to see at least one event a month right up until the end of March 2012.

“On July 9 we had the spectacular Chinese Lion Dance on the plaza. This noisy colourful entertaining dance certainly gave everyone something to smile about. On July 30 come and be entertained by the Magillians Comedy Duo. This forty five minute gymnastics show, which includes unicyclists, will keep everyone spellbound with their tricks and tumbles. This teamed with a face painter, a walk about character will help create a buzz around the town which is so important in attracting shoppers.”

Further events planned for later in the year include a fashion show on the plaza, an evening economy event in September and several events in December in the lead up to Christmas.

“It’s all about adding vibrancy to the town centre and a greater awareness of what Lurgan has to offer in respect of quality retail and overall visitor experience. For example shortly we will have stands in both Great Victoria and Central stations in Belfast and we hope to get as many traders promoting their wares on the day or even their individual retail offers.”

Lyn has also secured some funding for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and wants to help them further develop and prosper. That coupled with other Development Department projects including the expansion of the public realm works, and the Restore project will see an overall investment within the town in excess of £2 million.

“I’ve found that traders in Lurgan are very progressive and want to move forward – promoting their strengths. We’ve also been successful in getting an interpretation panel at the train station – essentially a town centre map so that there is a stronger link between the town centre and the railway station.

“Obviously we’re still continuing with the shop local campaign – enticing people to support their local traders. We’ve been out and about at Lurgan Show and Sport Comes 2 Town and will be at Lurgan Park rally and other major events where people are coming from further afield and may not know the town.

“Yes things are difficult,” admitted Lyn, “but Lurgan has plenty to offer. We’ve got to let people know that. In July we’re running a promotion on Cool FM which will be backed up with 50,000 leaflets which will be included with the Lurgan Mail, Portadown Times and other regional papers.

“It’s also helpful for traders to know that they can come to me with their ideas or concerns and that together we’ll try and get a resolution.”

Lyn concluded by saying that she is looking forward to meeting the traders and businesses in Lurgan and developing a good working relationship with them: “The Council’s motto is ‘together we progress’ and I really believe this to be the case.”

You can contact Lyn at the Civic & Conference Centre on 3831 3617 or email lyn.mcneill@craigavon.gov.uk