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Council set to host ‘Transforming Towns Together’ conference

BBC broadcaster and architecture expert Piers Taylor set to make keynote address at major Craigavon event

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is hosting a conference in a bid to mobilise and accelerate efforts aimed at strategically developing the borough’s town centres.

The ‘Transforming Towns Together’ conference will bring together the borough’s key stakeholders and thought leaders as part of a significant event designed to deliver a more informed and collaborative decision-making on the future of the borough’s urban centres.

Renowned award-winning architect, broadcaster and academic Piers Taylor is the keynote speaker at the event. Piers’ major BBC Two series, ‘The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes’, aired for a second series this year.

In addition to welcoming a range of town centre specialists to share their expertise, the council-led event will also showcase recent and current successes in terms of completed public realm schemes, heritage-led regeneration projects, shopfront improvements, initiatives supporting the daytime and night-time economy, retail business support programmes along with the establishment of Town Centre Task Force groups to drive the delivery of targeted action plans and initiatives across the borough.

Held on Thursday, November 22 at Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre, the initiative is part of a wider co-ordinated, targeted and robust approach to improve the competitiveness, attractiveness and vitality of the borough’s town centres as places at the heart of the community.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Councillor Julie Flaherty, said: “This is an opportune moment to launch our upcoming conference following this month’s announcement that Lurgan alone is set to benefit from a combined £4 million heritage-led investment to be delivered by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the council to regenerate Lurgan’s historic town centre as part of a five-year Townscape Heritage project.

“Earlier this year, the council also announced an investment of £6.3 million which will transform Armagh’s historic city centre thanks to a major injection of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“Regenerating and developing our town centres and ensuring they continue to thrive long into the future is a key council priority given the pivotal role they play in supporting local economic growth and enhancing the quality of the lives for everyone.”

The unique conference will also promote closer working relations between professionals working in the field within both the private and public sectors, while providing an overview of the current market and across Northern Ireland. The conference will have an urban focus, with topics in line with key council initiatives.

Named ‘one of the brightest architects in the profession’, Piers Taylor is former Design Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and a Studio Master at London’s Architectural Association.

He will be joined by business broadcaster Jamie Delargy who will introduce a stellar line-up.

The Lord Mayor added: “We are thrilled to welcome inspiring speakers and committed stakeholders. By sharing knowledge and working together with local business, we can confidently and collaboratively improve what our town centres have to offer.”

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