Irish Street in Downpatrick is to receive a significant upgrade following a £687,000 investment in the town’s public realm infrastructure.
The Department for Communities is investing £543,000 and Newry Mourne & Down District Council is also contributing £144,000 to make improvements to the street including new footways, lighting and streetscape furniture. Work will commence in January 2019.
This will bring the aesthetics within Irish Street up to the same standards as the major public realm scheme completed in 2012.
Councillor Mark Murnin, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council said: “On behalf of Council I am delighted that the Department for Communities has approved funding to implement this public realm scheme.
“Council will continue to work in partnership with the Department and with the Department for Infrastructure to deliver this much needed scheme and I look forward to the benefits that the project will bring to Irish Street in terms of regenerating this central part of Downpatrick and creating an environment which will encourage increased trading for traders. This part of Downpatrick has suffered significant decline over the years so it’s very welcome news that the area will benefit from this funding.”
South Down SDLP representatives have welcomed the news that money for investment in the public realm in Irish Street, Downpatrick, has been made available. South Down MLA Colin McGrath said: “I welcome the news of this investment and look forward to the work being completed.
“This will see a further piece in the jig-saw puzzle of Downpatrick’s street-scape which compliments work which commenced over ten years ago.
“I was chair of the project panel back in the mid-2000’s and we always felt that it was unfair on Irish Street that they weren’t included in previous streetscape schemes.”
Downpatrick Councillor John Trainor added: “This much anticipated scheme is the start of the regeneration of Irish Street and can only help the Town Centre area. There have been challenges throughout this project but these have been overcome and I look forward to the scheme commencing.”
And Councillor Gareth Sharvin said: “The investment into Irish Street is long overdue and something myself and my SDLP colleagues have been lobbying in getting delivered. The regeneration of Irish Street has brought all stakeholders together to deliver a scheme that will further boost the Downpatrick town centre.”
Long-serving Councillor Dermot Curran also welcomed the news and said: “I welcome this long overdue development and it is the first step which will be followed by the Irish Street car park commercial development which should bring new life to the town centre along with much need employment.”
Director of the Department’s Regional Development Office, Damian Mulholland said: “This funding will build on the significant public realm investment already made by the Department in Downpatrick over recent years, enhancing the natural heritage of the area and help improve visitors and resident experience within Downpatrick Town Centre.”
The Department also continues to work with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council on the potential regeneration of the site of the former PSNI Station on Irish Street to realise the significant potential that this prime site offers. This is a complex piece of work and will take a number of months to complete.