With designers now at work on £0.5m public realm plans and a £100,000 ‘Revitalisation Programme’ due to begin later this year, Dromore town centre regeneration is in hand.
That’s the verdict after Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale recently quizzed Communities Minister Paul Givan on progress since the publication in May last year of the Dromore Masterplan.
Mr Givan reported a number of steps had since been taken and work was ongoing between his department and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council officials in pursuit of regeneration proposals.
He said: “One of the primary masterplan recommendations was for the completion of a transportation assessment to review the current traffic arrangements in the town centre, with particular reference to Church Street.
“This work was funded by my department and concluded in March 2016, thus enabling a number of the proposals in the masterplan to be progressed.
“Initial work has recently commenced on the appointment of an integrated consultancy team to develop public realm proposals for the outer square and Church Street in the town centre.
“This work will complement the public realm improvements that were completed around the town hall in the main square in 2009.
“A number of revitalisation initiatives have also been delivered in Dromore town centre, including shop frontage improvements, the introduction of wi-fi services, the installation of decorative planters, the creation of a community garden, the promotion and marketing of events and the purchase of an outdoor stage and seating.
“A further phase of this work is being planned for later this year.”
In light of the fact that what she called “this historic and ancient market town” was in Mr Givan’s Lagan Valley constituency, Mrs Hale asked the minister how much his department proposed to spend on Dromore town centre regeneration,
Commending Mrs Hale for having “worked very well” in taking forward the Dromore area, Mr Givan added: “As Minister for Communities is it my responsibility to represent all of Northern Ireland, not just my constituency, so it will be treated fairly, as every other constituency will be treated fairly.
“As for how we will take work forward, £100,000 will be allocated to a new revitalisation programme to commence later this year.
“The council is developing the action plan in conjunction with local traders and £0·5 million has been identified to deliver a new public realm scheme in the outer area of Market Square and Church Street.
“The design stage is under way, with work planned to commence in 2017-18.”
Mrs Hale later welcomed the news, adding: “Seeing progress on the regeneration of Dromore Town Centre has been one of my key objectives since my election to the NI Assembly in 2011 and I will continue to work with my party colleagues in the local council, the Assembly and at Westminster, to push for more progress in the years ahead.”