Master plan work underway

Work is underway on a

Dromore ‘Master Plan’, aimed, among other things, at

best placing the town centre to take advantage of future

economic upturn.

The project will effectively press the reset button on the district council’s 2003 town centre development strategy, some elements of which have since been achieved, while others have not.

District council officers are reportedly working with the Department for Social Development to deliver what is being hailed as “a comprehensive plan for the future development of the town”.

Elements, as laid before a recent meeting of the council’s Leisure and Development Committee, include a town centre health-check, a retail, commercial and leisure capacity study and separate reports relating to the retail, commercial and tourism sectors, the evening economy, hospitality and leisure, the residential sector, traffic and parking.

Also included, a town centre master plan featuring regeneration objectives, a design compendium, public realm proposals, a promotional/marketing strategy and an implementation plan.

The project is to be DSD-funded and delivered by the council.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, chairman of the Dromore Partnership , which is to be a key partner in engaging with the community during the process , said the group was fully committed to the development of a strategy he hoped would ensure Dromore was well placed to benefit from any turnaround on the wider economic front.

Bearing in mind potential scepticism, he said, “Obviously, with the recesssion and the downturn in the property market, we have not been able to achieve all of the things we would like to have done in the last few years, but progress has been made.

“We want to build on those foundations and over the next 10 years realise the full potential for the regeneration of the town centre;.

“This will include not only


redevelopment of key sites in and around the town centre but also the pro

vision of additional leisure and recreation facilities, creating employment potential and providing a space for people to work in and around the town centre.

“One thing we can’t do is hold a gun to the heads of private property-owners and demand they redevelop the sites they own; that is not possible and much is dependent upon an upturn in the property market and this is out of our hands.”

That said, Mr Donaldson noted that significant programmes had been undertaken and almost £1m in regeneration funding had been secured in recent years. “I think any reasonable observer would recognise progress has been made,” he said. “Dromore remains a great place to live and that is the feedback I get from the vast majority of local residents but we want to build on that; the regeneration of the town centre is critical to the town’s future prosperity.”