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Neighbour councils hail millions for ‘exciting’ Camlough and Banbridge attractions

Camlough will get a new leisure and recreation centre including an event space, toilet, showers, changing facilities, parking and enhanced access to the Lake with slipway provision, while the F E McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge will be expanded and upgraded

Camlough Lake
Camlough Lake. Photo supplied by Newry, mourne and Down District Council.

Both Armagh and Newry Councils have welcomed multi-million pound pay-outs from the Levelling Up Fund which will help enhance both areas.

At Camlough Lake, a new £2.82 million first-class leisure and recreation centre will be built.

And the F E McWilliam Gallery in Belfast will benefit from a £3.5 million investment to expand and upgrade facilities.

Both were among 10 projects outlined as sharing in a £71 million windfall for Northern Ireland announced on Thursday night.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said they were looking forward to the Camlough Lake development becoming a reality.

Plans for the new leisure and recreation centre include an event space, toilet, showers, changing facilities, parking and enhanced access to the Lake with a slipway provision.

Cllr Savage said: “This exciting development is a major boost to our plans for Camlough Lake.  I look forward to seeing a first-class facility come to life at this stunning location and the resulting tourism benefits for the South Armagh and Newry area and wider district.”

Hailing the Banbridge announcement, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Councillor Paul Greenfield said: “I’m delighted to welcome the announcement from the UK Government to support the expansion and upgrade of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio.

At the official announcement of the £3.5 million Levelling Up fund for F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio (L-R) Heather Beck, Manager, Quails, Lord Mayor Councillor Paul Greenfield, Chair of the Economic and Regeneration Committee ABC Council, Alderman Ian Burns, and Riann Coulter, Curator and Manager. Picture by Phil Magowan

“The £3.5m funding is a significant investment for Banbridge and our borough, which will positively enhance the gallery as an internationally renowned cultural space.

“Situated along with A1 corridor, the gallery and studio is a major gateway to drive and boost tourism across our borough.”

Works are set to be completed by 2025 and the project is supported with an additional £397,000 investment from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

Commenting on the investment, Chair of the Economic and Regeneration Committee, Alderman Ian Burns said: “This significant investment will transform our tourism facility, by expanding the exhibition space it will increase visitor capacity and create more engaging opportunities to host events and educational programmes.

“As a council we will continue to deliver on our commitment to improve and enhance our tourism facilities to attract international visitors and develop our borough as a key destination.”

The F E McWilliam Gallery & Studio opened in 2008 attracting over 500,000 visitors in its first decade.

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