The $4.5 million upgrade to Fitzroy Plaza is paying off for Tamworth businesses

GOOD BUSINESS: Post Office Hotel publican Andrew Coutts said he expects patronage to pick up significantly in spring. Mr Coutts installed an outdoor dining area with the extra space afforded by the upgrade. Photo: Peter Hardin
GOOD BUSINESS: Post Office Hotel publican Andrew Coutts said he expects patronage to pick up significantly in spring. Mr Coutts installed an outdoor dining area with the extra space afforded by the upgrade. Photo: Peter Hardin

BUSINESS owners in the new Fitzroy Plaza are stoked with the results of the $4.5 million upgrade.

But, the construction phase was tough for some.

Post Office Hotel owner Andrew Coutts said it’s difficult to gauge the success of the project with winter weather driving down patronage.

“It’s the bush telegraph thing, with more people knowing it’s changed and done we should see more people here,” she said. 

“Plus, I got the add on of having outdoor dining and that’s increased the number of patrons I can have at one time.

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“I’m all for it, a lot of people weren’t for it because they don’t like change but I’m all for it in a big way.”

Tamworth Regional Council closed the road to traffic for construction in June last year, to provide a more pedestrian friendly environment. 

Now, there’s a one-way lane of traffic to halfway, then two-way traffic and parking from that point with free Wi-Fi, CCTV, drinking water stations, bicycle parking and street furniture.

The taxi rank previously located out the front of Homestead Coffee Lounge has been removed, and owner Richard McMahon couldn’t be happier.

“It’s helped the business tremendously, all we wanted to do was get rid of the taxis out front,” he said.

“Nobody used to sit under the verandah because they didn’t see much sunlight, now we can move our tables right into the sun.”

Mr McMahon believes he’s picked up an extra 100 regular clients since the plaza was completed.

But, it wasn’t all roses.

“I didn’t draw a wage personally for those seven months, and we’re only just starting to get some of that money back,” he said.

“I wouldn’t go through that again, but the only reason I bought this shop 25 years ago is because they were supposed to do up the street back then.”

Council called for community groups to suggest event ideas more than a year ago, and on Saturday Northern Inland Football will host Football on Fitzroy.

Green and gold fans can watch the soccer World Cup live on the big screen – kicking off at 8pm.

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