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All 55 city centre applicants get cash to ‘spruce up’ properties

A second phase of a scheme aimed at enhancing the appearance of properties in Armagh city centre has been hailed a huge success – with ALL 55 applicants for grants being awarded funding.

The city centre ‘Spruce-Up’ scheme targeted properties which had not qualified for funding in the first round.

The programme does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’, so to speak, offering grants of up to £750 to tenants and landlords to ‘spruce up’ their properties.

The call for applications closed in the middle of October and it has now been revealed that the scheme generated significant interest from both tenants and landlords, with a total of 55 applications received, with grant required totalling £37,278.55 for total project costs of
£51,035.06.

This was set against an available grant budget of £37,500.

Not just that, but it will generate work in the city too as, it has been revealed also that quotations received with applications showed that the majority of works would be carried out by LOCAL contractors.

Following an earlier request by Armagh Lord Mayor Cathy Rafferty, the scheme had been extended to include the Lower English Street, Cathedral Road and Railway Street areas of the city.

It was therefore open to all in Abbey Street, Barrack Street, Cathedral Road, College Street, Dawson Street, Dobbin Street, Dobbin Street Lane, Gaol Square, Irish Street/Lower Irish Street, Linenhall Street, Lower English Street, Market Street, Mall West, McCrum’s Court, Railway Street, Russell Street,  Scotch Street, Thomas Street and Upper English Street.

And Armagh will notice the changes to the appearance of individual buildings shortly, as timeframe was one of the ‘must dos’!

Applicants had to demonstrate the project could be completed by March 31, 2015.

They also had to prove that none of the projects would require planning approval or other statutory consents to ensure project completion prior to funding deadlines and applications were to be made by or on behalf of commercial property owners.

Applications were assessed by a panel on a points basis, with all 55 who applied being deemed successful.

Most projects achieving the score to qualify were seen as being able to deliver significant enhancements to the individual property and the streetscape as a whole.

They are dealing with a number of elements of the building frontage such as painting, render/masonry/stone repairs, guttering cleaning/replacement, replacement woodwork repairs/replacements.

All materials, councillors have been told, will be suitable for the Conservation Area and a number of Armagh’s older properties are included.

The panel, in completing the assessment, said it was “pleased to see a good spread in the distribution of grant around the majority of the eligible streets”.

SDLP Cllr Thomas O’Hanlon said it represented a “good employment opportunity for local painters”, while DUP Cllr Gareth Wilson also hailed the success of the scheme carried out in Tandragee.

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