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Bars and Gripes! Prison plans under public scrutiny

PLANS for a new 65-bedroom four-star hotel in the former Armagh Gaol are to go under public scrutiny this week.

Local residents will get the chance to have their say on design proposals for the multi-million pound development.

The Trevor Osborne Property Group – in partnership with Gaol owner Armagh Council and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust – hopes to transform the beautiful and vastly historic former women’s prison into a high-quality, mix-use development, including a the hotel, together with spa and conference facilities.

Also proposed on the site are restaurants and bars, shops and an education and heritage centre. It will also enable residential development.

The aim of the project is to save the historic Grade B+ structure – which is currently on the Buildings At Risk NI Register.

The scheme will create new, shared public spaces, a heritage trail that will guide visitors through the Gaol, promoting greater understanding of the buildings and their context within the historical and social development of Armagh and Ireland.

Isolation cells located within the basement will be retained and will contain displays portraying life within the Gaol throughout the past 200 years.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust said: “The proposed regeneration of the Gaol is an imaginative response to meet identified local needs; it will create a new attraction and destination for both visitors and the local community.”

The proposals can be viewed and comments made at a planning application public open evening this Wednesday, September 5, between 4.30pm and 7.30pm, at The Hayloft Gallery of the Palace Stables.

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