Mid Ulster District Council’s development committee has welcomed a proposal from the Dungannon Traders’ Association to bring people into the town in the run up to Christmas.
A report before the committee informed members of a request to reallocate its £5,500 budget for the Heels on the Hill event which was not run this year. It said it should be put towards a new event called ‘Dungannon Jingle Ball Run’.
The proposed event is set to take place on Sunday, December 18, in Dungannon’s Market Square, from 4pm to 7pm, and is designed to bring footfall into the town.
Officers advised there is no financial impact to council if the reallocation of this £5,500 funding is approved as it remains available within the economic development budget this financial year.
Proposing the money was reassigned, Councillor Barry Monteith said it was a “good idea and a good initiative that we should be promoting as much as possible”.
Councillor Kim Ashton asked why the event was to be held on Sunday and queried if the traders are intending to be open until 7pm on that day to take advantage of the increased visitors to the town.
Council’s assistant director of economy, tourism and strategic programmes, Fiona McKeown said that although she cannot give any guarantees shops will be open, she would “like to think a number of them would open”.
“I understand the plan is to use the event space in Feeneys Lane, so we will be encouraging traders to open but ensuring they do is beyond our control,” she said.
Explaining the rationale behind the request to hold the event on Sunday, Ms McKeown said: “They were also thinking of the impact on businesses trading on the Saturdays as it will require a partial road closure.”
Councillor Dominic Molloy also welcomed the initiative, which he described as “something new and much needed”, before asking officers if council facilities will be open that Sunday as well.
Ms McKeown told the chamber she would “like to think all facilitates will be open if there is an event on so it is beneficial to everyone”.
Cllr Monteith put forward the proposal to approve the redistribution of the funds originally earmarked for the Heels on the Hill event and this was seconded by Councillor Dan Kerr before the committee voiced its approval.