Questions have been raised over why Nugent’s Entry in Enniskillen town centre was left out of the Public Realm Scheme works, with businesses raising concerns over the unkempt state of the area, with weeds growing on the pathway, broken paving slabs, damaged drains and littering issues.

One local business owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, is questioning why the area was left out of the scheme when similar areas were included, and is calling on the Council to, at the very least, clean the entry more thoroughly.

“I’d love to see the documentation that explains why Nugent’s Entry was left out of the Public Realm [works]. Why did they fix every other entry and not ours?” said the business owner, noting their frustration over the situation.

Acknowledging that a Council employee is allocated one hour a week to clean the street and does a “fantastic” job during that time, the business owner believes that more thorough cleaning is required, such as power washing, and that the area should be monitored to combat littering and other criminal activities.

“It’s under the radar, and people use it as a cut-through. There are no cameras [so] they smoke, they drink. There are people urinating.

“I’ve witnessed someone putting a plastic bag in the hedge and another guy on a bike coming and lifting it,” said the business owner, adding: “There’s probably needles, condoms and beer bottles all in those hedges.”

“Charlie’s [bar] has a mural, and we can’t even get our entry cleaned,” they said, adding: “Enniskillen BID are wasting people’s money on the wrong things, in my opinion.”

The business owner believes that if the Council spent even £500 on the area, it would help matters.

“It would clean [the entry], [they could] take out those hedges and put in flowers so that people can’t disguise stuff in there.

“They could put a bin and paint the benches. It’s basic – we shouldn’t even have to ask,” they said.

A property owner in the area echoed such views, highlighting how “unkempt” Nugent’s Entry is, noting that they have also been in contact with the Council regarding the entry’s upkeep.

“The town looks so well, and even walking down to any of the car parks it looks lovely – yet when you go to Nugent’s Entry, it’s an absolute disgrace,” they said.

When asked why Nugent’s Entry was left out of the Public Realm Scheme, and what the Council is doing to upkeep the area, a Council spokesperson replied: “Nugent’s Entry is inspected and cleaned on a weekly basis as part of the Council’s normal street cleansing operations.

“Following a recent inspection, additional power washing has been programmed and is expected to be completed within the next two weeks. 

“Litter around the shrubbery is generally removed as part of the weekly street cleansing operations; however, during the summer months, some litter may become ‘trapped’ within the bushes; this is removed following seasonal pruning.”

The Council spokesperson told this newspaper that Nugent’s Entry was “beyond the scope of the recent public realm works in Enniskillen”.

When asked to further clarify why this was so, the spokesperson said: “The Enniskillen Public Realm Scheme focused on the main thoroughfare of the town centre and was defined in terms of the extent of works which could be achieved within the available funding.”

The local business spokesperson also informed this newspaper that a broken paving slab was reported to the DfI on September 29, but has yet to be fixed.

When asked when the Department will fix the slab, a DfI spokesperson replied: “The Department inspects and maintains part of Nugent’s Entry; however, the remainder is not within our control. The last inspection of the part the Department maintains was on August 1 and no actionable defects were recorded.”

As Nugent’s Entry has been left out of the Public Realm Scheme, The Impartial Reporter asked Enniskillen BID if it has plans for the area.

A spokesperson for the group said that it has a remit to deliver its business plan, but it “does not include public realm-type works”.

Regarding aesthetic works such as murals the spokesperson said: “We have a number of walls put forward by business owners that we will work with in early 2023, and welcome if there are business owners located in Nugent’s Entry that want to put their wall forward – we will include them on our list.”