Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s planning committee has approved a council application to refurbish a section of Tandragee.
The proposal, approved by the committee will see the council make public realm and open space improvement works to lands 15m west of the junction between Mill Street and Markethill Road in Tandragee.
The improvements will include a new paving, seating, feature lighting, a community events space, associated planting and the erection of a pillar clock.
The clock will stand 4.5m high with the pillar and clock housing to be fabricated from steel and powder coated black with gold trims.
The clock face will be encased in perspex and the base of the clock will feature some form of embellishment while the maintenance access door will be lockable.
The planning officer’s report on the application notes the site is an existing area of public open space and, at present, is predominantly laid in grass. The site also contains two flower beds – one facing onto Market Street and the other onto Mill Street.
There is a small circular paved area in the middle with two benches and two other seats are located along the western boundary of the grassed area.
Footpaths abound the site with the western boundary of the site defined by a footpath and small wall which separates the site from an area of open space which is associated with the Kirkside housing development.
The report also informs members that officers are content the application complies with all relevant planning policy.
Reflecting on the proposal, the committee’s Chair, Councillor Darren McNally, was struck by the design of the clock.
“The clock is very unusual, it is a nice-looking piece of equipment but I wonder just how much vandalism it might suffer,” he said.
A planning officer told the committee they could offer no reassurance as to the amount of vandalism the clock might receive but said they hoped its location would reduce that risk.
“Given its located in a well-lit and frequently used area, I would like to think it will be relatively safe,” said the planning officer.
Councillor Peter Lavery noted the design of the area was very welcoming to all but asked about the provision of bike stands for cyclists who may have journeyed to the area.
“Are there any plans for bicycle stands,” enquired Councillor Lavery.
“It looks like a nice area to cycle to and sit down and have a look around and enjoy the nice clock but is there somewhere cyclists can leave their bikes.”
He was told a bicycle stand is not included in this application but may be included in the future under permitted development rights.
Having given the proposal some consideration, Councillor Sam Nicholson said he was happy to propose the application was approved.
This proposal was seconded by Alderman Gareth Wilson. Cllr Lavery said he too was happy to support the proposal but stressed the need for Council to add bicycle stands to the location at a later stage.