Moves are afoot to bring the town’s Chamber of Trade back to life, after some years of what can best be described as ‘suspended animation’.
The ‘MAIL’ can reveal efforts are being made to organise a meeting early next month involving all those interested in the future life of the town
Taking the initiative on the issue are local Councillor Carla Lockhart and party colleague Upper Bann MLA Stephen Moutray.
Alderman Lockhart has pledged in her role as a Councillor to work with Council to establish, rebrand and rejuvenate a Chamber of Trade within the Lurgan area. She said: “I have been challenged recently to try and create an environment within Lurgan to re-establish an active Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
“I would at the outset commend the excellent work that has been achieved by those involved in the past and I want to ensure that the good work is built upon. More than ever we need our Chambers to stand up and be counted.
“With the changes in Council structures it is imperative that each of our towns has a voice to ensure that town centre regeneration is clearly on the agenda.
“A big issue facing councils is that of car parking and the way forward for charging, another is that of the transfer of planning powers and the fact that a new Area Plan is to be devised looking at the zoning of the Borough and the development potential.
“With this in mind we need an active Chamber that will tackle the problems, become the voice of the town and work collectively to make Lurgan a place where people want to shop, do business and invest.”
“I am delighted at the positive response thus far and am thankful to those members who previously invested their time and talent into Chamber life continuing to support this initiative. There are those who either privately or publicly declared their support for this initiative.
“The plan is to host a meeting in early July with traders and a facilitator to try and establish a way forward. My vision is to see an pro-active chamber aimed at putting Lurgan town centre and its surrounding area back on Local Government and Central Government’s agenda.”
Mr Moutray said: “As someone who has been in local business in Lurgan for a long number of years I support these steps at a Council level to try and revitalise the Chamber of Trade.
“I am acutely aware of the changing face of politics and the need for a strong voice at a local level to ensure the best deal for town traders. Trading in town centres has, in recent years, been more difficult with a decreasing footfall therefore it is imperative that the correct shopping environment is created for local and passing trade. I will be working in whatever way I can at a Stormont level to try and stimulate change.”