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McCausland Invests a further £264,000 towards regeneration initiatives in Armagh City Centre

Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland has announced additional funding of 264,000 for two revitalisation projects in Armagh City Centre.
Thursday, 20 December 2012

The funding will allow for the continuation of the Revitalisation Project in Armagh City Centre and also for further funding for the development of a public realm scheme in College Street in the city.

The additional funding for the Revitalisation Project will further capitalise on the excellent public realm work completed to date. It will strengthen and improve existing retail provision and promote Armagh as a leading tourist destination. This will in turn attract visitors and investors and reduce the blight from a number of vacant properties and gap sites.

The completion of the College Street public realm scheme will contribute to the overall regeneration of the city centre, enhancing the visitor experience and creating further levels of investment in this area of the city centre.

Nelson McCausland said: “Armagh is a city with great potential, but like many other towns and cities, it faces a struggle to remain competitive in the current economic climate. Therefore I am pleased to announce this additional funding to help further revitalise Armagh City Centre, to further enhance the commercial core benefiting businesses, retailers, residents and visitors alike.”

The Minister went onto say: “The completion of the College Street Scheme within the City Centre is great news for the businesses and residents of Armagh and will contribute to the completeness of public realm work in the City Centre. I know that these regeneration initiatives can really make a difference to our city centres and I am encouraged by the dedication and commitment of both Armagh City and District Council along with Armagh City Centre Management, in their efforts to regenerate Armagh City Centre.”

Proposals for the revitalisation project include a ‘Get On-line’ mentoring scheme, installation of free WIFI in the city centre, a Spring Retail Showcase Evening, new Market Stalls, a ‘spruce-up’ scheme for approximately 40 business premises and 9 derelict properties and a feature lighting design to highlight the architectural distinctiveness of the city centre at night.

Objectives for the College Street scheme include enhanced streetscape, improved perceptions of safety at night, enhanced linkages with the Mall and a positive welcome to visitors to the city centre.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City and District Council, Councillor Sharon Haughey confirmed her delight at this latest funding announcement for Armagh. She said: “Although over the last number of years we have seen great improvements in the physical environment in Armagh City Centre, there is still much work to be done. The funding of an environmental improvement scheme in College Street is great news and will help connect this key entry point to the City Centre with the iconic Mall. Throughout the recession, Armagh has held its own, maintaining footfall, due to its resilient and high quality independent businesses and the strong partnership ethos with Armagh City Centre Management Committee. Although customers may not have as much to spend, projects such as the Revitalisation Project help Armagh to raise the bar and set us apart from other towns.”

Art O’Hagan, Chair of Armagh City Centre Management hopes that this latest injection of funding will give Armagh the edge over its competitors. He said: “We have had great ideas and support from local businesses as to how Armagh City Centre should react to the challenging economic climate. Our objective is to increase footfall generally and ensure our customers have a great experience when they are here – this funding will help us in particular to tackle some of our more long-term vacant and derelict sites. These sites will firstly be cleaned up and secured before adding graphics at a later date to help prospective investors visualise their long-term development potential.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The additional funding package for the Revitalisation Project consists of £119,000 from the Department for Social Development and £25,000 from Armagh City & District Council.
  2. The funding package for the College Street scheme consists of £145,000 from DSD, £16,700 from Armagh City & District Council and an ‘in-kind’ contribution of £30,000 from DRD Roads Service for professional design and supervision services.
  3. Media enquiries to DSD Communication Office on 028 9082 9078. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.