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Council plans second bid to add to £2m Armagh City regeneration pot

A project manager to oversee the regeneration of buildings in Armagh City – thanks to a grant of almost £2 million – is expected to be appointed in the coming weeks.

And work is continuing towards submitted a second bid for Heritage Lottery Fund money.

It was in January that a total of £1.98 million was awarded under the Townscape Heritage Initiative as part of a programme to help regenerate the centre of Armagh, bringing disused buildings back into productive use and creating jobs.

Armagh was one of nine towns and cities across the UK to be awarded funding.

It came after a successful bid by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, which Armagh I first revealed was being made in October of last year.

The money will see the repair and re-use of up to 30 buildings, creating 20 jobs and five new businesses as well as securing 10 jobs and four existing businesses.

The old Dunnes Stores building at English Street is expected to feature in the plans.

Now council officials have held further discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund regarding the next steps for the scheme – and progressing a second funding bid.

A project manager should be in place within weeks.

Work has also started to set up a ‘Townscape Heritage Partnership’, which will meet for the first time this month.

A conservation architect is being appointed to draw up a ‘Conservation Area Management Plan’. A full review of the ‘priority’ property listings is being carried out and a consortium appointed to undertake this work.

Council officials have also held preliminary talks with a number of organisations – including the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and Southern Regional College – to identify a partnership approach for delivering the scheme.

It is expected that the second funding application will be submitted by November 2016.

With that done, a formal decision on additional funding should be announced in April 2017.

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