Works will attract more investment, says Minister

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SOCIAL Development Minister Nelson McCausland believes the public realm works and other initiatives to tackle dereliction will help to attract private sector investment to Lurgan.

Speaking on a whistlestop tour of the borough, Mr McCausland viewed the recently completed Restore and Retail Capacity Building Projects.

He also saw progress on the Methodist Church Building which received £273,00 in Urban Development Grant funding.

And he met with the newly appointed contractor McLaughlin & Harvey who will be responsible for delivering Phase 2 of the Lurgan works before heading to Portadown.

Minister McCausland said: “I am pleased to visit the borough of Craigavon today to view at first hand the benefits of this range of revitalisation projects and to announce the appointment of McLaughlin & Harvey to complete phase 2 of the Lurgan public realm works. I have been impressed with the outcome of the Lurgan Restore and Retail Capacity Building Projects which have given the town a much needed face-lift along with the progress made at the Methodist Church, courtesy of Urban Development Grant aid.

“I am pleased to see the progress made in Portadown, having previously benefited from a major £5.2M public realm scheme. My department is providing additional investment of £150,000 to further revitalise the town centre with special events to increase footfall, improvements to shop frontages and an injection of colour through a planting scheme.”

He said: “I have seen a great change in both Lurgan and Portadown town centres today and am convinced that the combination of further public realm works and other initiatives to tackle dereliction within the town centre will assist in attracting additional private sector investment. I am well aware that the current economic climate has had its effect on the traders of the towns, but I am confident that investment from my department in the regeneration of the town centre will support the future prosperity of both Lurgan and Portadown.”

Mayor of Craigavon Borough Council, Councillor Carla Lockhart said: “We are delighted to welcome Minister McCausland to our vibrant Borough to see first-hand the many innovative and cutting edge projects which are ongoing throughout Craigavon with the help of DSD funding. The Department has already invested £8m in new Public Realm in Lurgan and Portadown and I am delighted to see another £1.95m investment in Public Realm Works in Lurgan, which will see more pavements transformed, more improved additional lighting and street furniture in Lurgan.

“But it doesn’t stop there, DSD has also invested £150,000 through the Lurgan ReStore project and £150,000 for Portadown Revitalisation Project - the funding is bringing substantial and vital changes to the Borough and bringing it right up to date for residents, visitors and tourists.”