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Strabane town centre regeneration masterplan

Strabane town centre regeneration masterplan

The banner picture above is of the large ASDA superstore on the outskirts of Strabane. It is open 24 hours. With the strength of the Euro against the pound, people drive across the border from the Republic to shop here and make huge savings.

This store is, of course, car based. The officials and people we encountered on this project did not seem to think that this ASDA store (and the rest of the retail park) had anything to do with the decline of the traditional town centre, half a kilometre away. Such beliefs made it difficult for the consultants to gain support for measures to revive the town centre.

There also seemed to be little appetite for measures to improve the walking environment. The street linking the town centre with the retail park is blocked on one side by an old warehouse building (see picture). When the team argued that removal of this to provide a continuous footway was imperative, we were told that the owner would hold on to it as "ransom" and that it would not be worth the expense and difficulty. It is sad that a town should feel that it cannot deal with such problems.

In contrast, there was much enthusiasm amongst the townsfolk and their representatives in government for the dualling of the A5 trunk road between Strabane and Londonderry/Derry, a flagship Northern Ireland scheme that later ran into legal difficulties. This scheme, to create a dual three lane carriageway where currently there is a single two-lane carriageway, should surely receive much closer scrutiny than it has to date?

The project focused on ways of developing and regenerating the town centre, but without backing for real improvements, it always felt as though we had one arm tied behind our backs.

The baseline report can be viewed here.

The masterplan can be viewed here.


LocationStrabane Northern Ireland
Date(s)2009
Client(s)Department for Social Development, Northern Ireland
Team(s)Tim Pharoah with Tribal Urban Studio, in association with Colliers CRE and Oxford Economics

keywords

Town centre regeneration, development planning, masterplan, integrated transport, accessibility planning, public transport planning, town centre revitalisation, Strabane