Town centre given a major cash boost

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Banbridge town centre has been given a boost to the tune of £220,000 for a scheme which, it is hoped, will breathe new life into the area.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has announced the funding package for the innovative revitalisation scheme.

The breakdown of the funding shows a grant of £170,000 from the Department for Social Development (DSD), £13,000 from Banbridge District Council and a private sector ‘match-funding’ contribution of £40,000 from local businesses and traders.

The council will lead the project which will see money spent on promotion and marketing of the town centre, the installation of free Wi-Fi for shoppers, shutter graphics and window panels for vacant properties.

The scheme will also see the introduction of creative signage at key arrival points in the project area and improvements made to the entrance points of alleyway connections to the town.

Pop up galleries will also be introduced along with arts workshops, art student focus in vacant buildings and outdoor space to develop Banbridge as an arts town.

Discussing the plans, Minister McCausland said: “Upon completion a number of initiatives in this scheme will benefit local retailers, businesses, residents and visitors alike, contributing to the long term viability and prosperity of the town.”

“This further investment will enhance the appearance of buildings along Newry Street and Bridge Street in the town centre. “

News of the financial boost has been welcomed by the council’s Director of Leisure and Development.

“We are very pleased that our application for funding has been successful and that the Department for Social Development is working closely with the council to identify ways in which we can revitalise Banbridge Town Centre,” said Catriona Regan.

“We have recently completed the public realm works in Rathfriland Street which have made a great improvement to the area and we are keen to continue the regeneration work within the town centre.”

“We have recently completed the public realm works in Rathfriland Street which have made a great improvement to the area and we are keen to continue the regeneration work within the town centre.”

Minister McCausland added that the scheme, if successful, could be implemented in other towns across Northern Ireland.

“I’m confident this scheme will provide a vital step in protecting the future prosperity of Banbridge,” he said.

What are your thoughts on the scheme? Email your views to news@banbridgeleader.co.uk