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‘Free cash’ for Armagh shops ‘spruce-up’!

A CASH incentive to improve the appearances of Armagh city centre businesses – and sprucing up vacant sites –  has just been unveiled today (Friday).

The Department of Social Development and Armagh Council will fund two schemes to enhance the built environment of the city centre, targeting both business premises and derelict sites.

Armagh Lord Mayor Sharon Haughey highlighted the inclusion of a property ‘Spruce-Up’ scheme.

“This scheme will provide at least 40 business owners with funding to make improvements to their properties over the next few months,” she explained.

“The scheme is being managed for the council by local quantity surveying firm Ian Donnelly Associates Ltd, and offers a grant of up to £750 to improve building frontages. All projects will be completed by March 2013, so customers and visitors will see the benefits very quickly over the next few months.

“Throughout the recession, Armagh has held its own, maintaining footfall, due to its resilient and high quality independent businesses and the strong partnership ethos with Armagh City Centre Management Committee. 

“Although customers may not have as much to spend, our strategies of supporting businesses, growing annual events like Georgian Day and raising the bar with our Christmas Marketing set us apart from other towns.  I would encourage local people to support and enjoy Armagh city centre over the Christmas shopping period.”

Art O’Hagan, Chair of Armagh City Centre Management, announced that the Empty Property Improvement Scheme will also start on site this week.

“This scheme will tackle our more long-term vacant and derelict sites,” he revealed.

“Top of the list is the Ogle Street site. These sites will firstly be cleaned up and secured before adding graphics at a later date to help prospective investors visualise their development potential.

“The physical improvements will be followed swiftly by a proactive marketing campaign to highlight Armagh and all its development sites and available properties as investment and business opportunities. 

“It will also actively target retailers and businesses to encourage them to locate in Armagh and provide support and advice to new businesses setting up for the first time.”

Businesses interested in the ‘Spruce Up’ Grant Scheme should urgentlycontact Ian Donnelly Associates Ltd, Edward Street, Armagh at ibdqs@aol.com or call 3752 5100 / 078 0101 8592.  Closing date for applications is strictly Thusday, December 6, at 12 noon.

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