Multi-million facelifts for Mid Ulster towns and villages

Former Mayor of Dungannon Roger Burton at the opening of the previous Public Realm scheme
Former Mayor of Dungannon Roger Burton at the opening of the previous Public Realm scheme

DUNGANNON and Cookstown are set for massive facelifts as multi-million pound funding is to be poured into improving their town centres.

It has also emerged that Coalisland has been earmarked for a similar boost.

Last week Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey announced funding of £4.5million towards planned Public Realm works of £8million in Cookstown, Dungannon as well as Magherafelt in Co Derry. The three towns are part of the new Mid Ulster Council.

The works to each town centre will include upgrading pedestrian areas and pavements with high quality materials, improved lighting provision, undergrounding of overhead cables, new street furniture, signage and tree planting.

The overall cost of the schemes is £8.1million of which the department is providing £4.5million having previously contributed £169,000 towards the development and design of schemes. The Mid Ulster District Council has committed to funding the schemes to completion.

The work in Cookstown will be carried out on James Street, William Street and adjoining streets to the east and west.

Welcoming the announcement, former Cookstown Council chairman Cathal Mallaghan said, “As presiding councillor In the super councils transition year, I led two delegations to Stormont to lobby the Social Development minister for adequate funding for the Public Realm Schemes in Mid Ulster. Under Review of Public Administration the department was due to transfer regeneration powers to councils. We were very worried that Mid Ulster would be treated unfairly with not enough money to complete the schemes in Dungannon, Cookstown, Magherafelt and Coalisland.

“The transfer of powers will not now happen until 2016 so we lobbied DSD to ensure that in this financial year we could access as much funding as possible to complete our schemes.

“The allocation of £4.5M is very welcome and will be a significant boost to a scheme which will in its entirety cost almost over £8million. These schemes help towns to regenerate and bring in new visitors and will be an economic driver.”

Substantial work has already been carried out in Dungannon town centre since last year.