Brown Launches Alliance Downpatrick Draft Plans

Patrick Brown MLA To Present Alliance Plans For The Regeneration Of Downpatrick

Patrick Brown MLA To Present Alliance Plans For The Regeneration Of Downpatrick

“This week I launched the Alliance Party’s strategy to ‘Restore our County Town’ said South Down MLA Patrick Brown.

“This strategy document contains 25 projects across 4 themes which we believe can restore and regenerate our county town after years of neglect.

“This is a draft strategy, and I am now seeking feedback from local people and stakeholders in the Downpatrick area, on their thoughts on our plan.”

The Downpatrick Masterplan which was released in 2011, was a previous attempt by Down council and the Department of Regional Development at the time to regenerate the area.

However, few of the masterplan’s ambitions were delivered, with many falling by the wayside after the merger of local government in 2014.

South Down MLA Patrick Brown is to present the draft Alliance Party plan for Downpatrick regeneration in Denvir’s Hotel on Wednesday 19th October.

Recently, a Downpatrick Regeneration Working Group has been established by the council, and Patrick Brown believes this strategy document, which contains 25 core strategic projects, could help shape some of the thinking of this group and provide a clear vision for the town. 

The 25 strategic projects are grouped under four key themes, Economic Development & Regeneration; Environment & public services; Community, the Arts & Tourism; and Infrastructure.

Patrick Brown MLA said: “This Alliance strategy document has been informed by months of engagement with Downpatrick businesses, community groups and residents and represents what we feel is an ambitious yet achievable plan to Restore our County Town.

“Downpatrick is the largest town in South Down, with a wealth of potential from world leading tourism assets, a solid entrepreneurial base, a history of strong public sector employment, it has strong commuter links to Belfast and a beautiful rural hinterland.

Cllr Cadogan Enright was welcomed into the Alliance Party this year and gets a handshake from South Down MLA Patrick Brown, right.

“Unfortunately, the area has been severely neglected in recent decades, with little of the March 2011 Masterplan delivered and a general feeling from locals that Downpatrick is the forgotten town of the council district.

“This is clear from how the council has downgraded the value of important tourism assets such as the Down Museum and Downpatrick and County Down Railway.

“And council plans to displace good public sector jobs from the Downshire Civic Centre by building an unnecessary new council HQ in Newry.

“There are also no major capital projects planned for Downpatrick, whilst Newry is due to receive upwards of £60m in coming years to regenerate its city centre.”

Downpatrick Councillor Cadogan Enright said: “The message of ‘Restore our County Town’ was a central focus of our 2022 Assembly election campaign, and a key reason why I was inspired to join the Alliance Party after many years as an independent councillor.

“The Alliance party’s growth in the Downpatrick area reflects a desire for change following a severe lack of delivery from the establishment parties.

“Downpatrick needs a bold vision if it is going to recover from years of neglect, the pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis.

“Alliance is the only party to develop such a vision for our County Town, and I hope other parties and our local council will get on board and work collaboratively to see it delivered.”

Patrick Brown added: “Amongst the top priorities listed in the document are initiatives to drive economic development, such as setting up a Business Improvement District (BID), protecting local services like the Down Hospital and Downshire public sector campus, and championing infrastructure projects which can address congestion in the town.

“However, this is just the first draft, and I firmly believe that any plan for Downpatrick’s regeneration must be bottom-up and led by its people.

“Therefore, we are seeking feedback on what’s in the document currently, and ideas for what may be missing.

“The opportunity for anyone in the town to receive a presentation of our plan and give this feedback will be at Denvirs Hotel at 7pm on Wednesday 19th October, and anyone can view our plan and RSVP for the event at the link below:’

“To view the Alliance draft proposal document in full, please click this link. 

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