Banbridge town centre looks set to be completely transformed thanks to a £5.5 million public realm scheme.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey confirmed the plans this afternoon (Wednesday).
The new works will deliver high quality measures including paving and landscaping which will “improve the quality of the main streets and connectivity between them”.
In addition, it will create an attractive civic space in the heart of the town to hold events and “build a sense of community”.
Enhancements will also be made to the bridge over the River Bann.
Making the announcement, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “I am delighted to announce this £5.5m investment in Banbridge, with £3m coming from my Department. This is a major investment and will help to improve the streetscape and attract shoppers back to the town centre following the pandemic.
“This will also help to improve the dwell time for those visiting the town, including the huge number of visitors to the Game of Thrones attraction which is expected to open later this year and will attract people from across the globe.
“This funding will complement previous public realm works funded by my Department and is part of my ongoing commitment to the regeneration of our town and city centres.
“It has been a difficult period for our high streets and I hope this will be a welcome boost in sustaining the long term viability and prosperity of the towns.”
The investment comes from the Department for Communities (£3m) and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (£2.5m).
The public realm scheme will be managed by the council and work is due to get underway in Spring 2022.
Alderman Glenn Barr, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said: “I welcome the announcement of funding and support from the department towards Banbridge Public Realm.
“This investment comes at a significant time for the town as it prepares to capitalise on the major Game of Thrones attraction that will firmly put Banbridge on the map for international visitors.
“As a council we will be contributing over £2.5 million to this £5.5 million scheme to provide a major regeneration boost for the town centre, renew the sense of public pride in the town, and help support the recovery, growth and future investment of businesses for the future.”
The scheme will focus on improving and enhancing the streetscape and will include Newry Street, Downshire Bridge and the Cut, Bridge Street, Bann Bridge, Scarva Street, Commercial Road Junction, Victoria Street, Railway Street, Linenhall Street, Castlewellan Road, Old Kenlis Street, the Mall and Downshire Place.
The Public Realm works are due complete by the end September 2023.