TRADERS in Bangor are seeking a compromise with North Down Borough Council (NDBC) over controversial new plans to provide food and beverage services at Project 24, the regeneration project on Queen's Parade.
At a meeting of Bangor Chamber of Commerce last week it was agreed that a request would be sent to NDBC that it take into consideration some of the concerns local traders have.
Listed among those concerns was the request for a guarantee that services offered at Project 24 would be event based only and not a permanent fixture, as well as a request to lower the amount of days the council planned to offer the service.
In last week's Community Telegraph it was reported that the Department of Social Development (DSD) will provide extra investment of £90,000 for the project if the Council provides an initial £20,000. It has since been clarified that the total investment is £91,350 with the DSD approving £73,350 and the council approving £18,000.
The original project plans will see services offered at over 20 upcoming council run events, at which local traders have been offered the opportunity to rent a stall or pass out promotional material.
Kenneth Sharp, president of the Bangor Chamber of Commerce and owner of The Salty Dog hotel and bistro said that while concerns were raised by various business owners, the mood had been generally supportive of Project 24. He believed they had drawn up a compromise and that their concerns would be acknowledged by the council.
Opinions amongst Bangor traders is currently heavily divided with some calling for an end to the project's services and others crediting its impact.
Jayne Howson-Quigg of the Art restaurant in High Street rejected claims that traders were angry with the council and called on all businesses to get behind the scheme. "Project 24 is a great initiative to get people into the town of Bangor and generate increased footfall," she said.
"Use of the project has been offered to every business owner and if everyone was to work together in utilising it, it could be a hugely successful project.
"We need to work together to attract people into Bangor and present to them all the good points Bangor has to offer.
"Unfortunately there are certain members of the business community in Bangor that want to create friction around every event.
"These tactics can't be used because it will simply make people regress and all of Bangor will suffer."