New council pursues ambitious area plans

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Consultation gets

underway this week on

establishing an “ambitious” regeneration and development plan for the entire Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area encompassed by the new supercouncil.

Banbridge Enterprise Centre will from 7-9pm tomorrow (Wednesday) host one of a number of consultation workshops which kick off in Armagh tonight and continue at Craigavon Civic Centre from 2.30-4.30pm tomorrow afternoon.

A spokesperson for the new council said the regeneration and development of the wider area was one of its top priorities.

It was consulting widely, he said, to create an ambitious plan to drive the region’s future prosperity and economic growth.

The council has appointed a team, led by Locus Management and including economic analysts, business, enterprise and skills experts and policy and planning specialists, to formulate the regeneration and development plan.

Its development, the spokesperson said, was being informed by widespread engagement with a broad range of stakeholders from the public, private, community and voluntary sectors as well as residents of the ‘ABC’ region.

This week’s workshops will provide those attending with an opportunity to hear a synopsis of work to date and to have an input around the key emerging regeneration and development priorities for the ABC region.

Key areas include community centre provision, developing town centres, enhancing rural economies, encouraging investment,supporting the growth of small to medium enterprises, upskilling young people and supporting healthier lifestyles.

The spokesperson said: “The ABC council is the largest council area in terms of population outside of Belfast.

“There are considerable assets within ABC, including a large manufacturing base, vibrant retail centres, beautiful towns and villages, a strong agricultural/rural tradition, natural assets including Lough Neagh, a committed community and voluntary sector and finally a strong cultural tourism product.

“These assets need to be developed further as part of the process of formulating a range of measures for the ABC Council to further strengthen the region’s economic and community potential at national, European and international levels.”