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WITH Phase 2 of the £1.95 million Lurgan Public Realm about to start, Craigavon council has just paid out almost £60,000 in architects fees.

According to recent accounts, ratepayers paid out £59,450 to Hamilton Architects.

And a Ground Investigation at Lurgan Public realm by Causeway Geotech Ltd cost £3,845.

Phase 1 has not long been completed and saw a massive change to the Market Street and Church Place area of the town with extended footpaths, a new plaza and trees.

Lurgan Public Realm Phase 2 which is to run in conjunction with the council and the Department of Social Development will include High Street to Malcolm Road, as well as William Street and Edward Street.

This project will include new surfaces, lighting, street furniture and landscaping similar to that in the area around Market Street and Church Place.

The design information was finished in June and a contractor was appointed in August as was a pre-construction design.

The council has revealed that work is due to begin this month and will finish in May next year.

Some traders had voiced concerns about the project particularly in relation to parking spaces.

The Chamber of Commerce and Lurgan Forward have been lobbying for more parking spaces and for free parking to attract more people to the town centre. They believe a combination of free parking at Rushmere Shopping Centre and the introduction of charges in Lurgan has cost the town trade.

Recently Sinn Fein called for North Street to be included in Phase 2.

Pre-empting the new improvements, Roads Service are now working on Lurgan’s spaghetti junction at Millennium Way and Edward Street.

The complicated mesh of traffic lights and slip lanes has led to motorists finding it challenging to negotiate one of the busiest road junctions in the town.

Controversy had plagued phase one of the works in Market Street and Church Place with constant complaints of disruption to traffic and business.