11/08/2011

Scenic Mourne's Coastal Towns Set For Fillip

A strategic plan for the regeneration of three picturesque towns on Northern Ireland's south east coast has been unveiled.

A well-known consultancy, URS Scott Wilson, has been chosen to produce the plan that will take around 12 months to produce.

The Stormont Department for Social Development (DSD) Minister, Nelson McCausland announced the news as part of an important step in the future regeneration of the coast with the launch of a master planning exercise.

DUP Minister McCausland said: "The commencement of a masterplan will cover the three urban towns of Warrenpoint, Kilkeel and Newcastle.

"These towns all share the outstanding visual backdrop of the Mourne Mountains, one of Northern Ireland's top tourism jewels and of course a beautiful yet distinctive coastal location.

"Warrenpoint is renowned for its setting along Carlingford Lough, Kilkeel its harbour and fishing industry and Newcastle as a key gateway to the Mourne Mountains," he said.

The masterplan will present a framework within which detailed proposals can be developed for a mix of business, tourism, leisure, public space and housing that could be accommodated

Minister McCausland continued: "By working in collaboration with each other Warrenpoint, Kilkeel and Newcastle will be able to fully exploit the region's assets to attract more visitors and new businesses whilst at the same time protecting each town’s unique character and setting."

Mayor of Newry & Mourne District Council Councillor Charlie Casey said: "I am delighted to announce this master planning exercise. This exercise allows local businesses and communities in Kilkeel and Warrenpoint to have real input to the future development plans for their towns.

"We all recognise how tourism can help grow our local economies. I believe this affords us an opportunity to rejuvenate our seaside towns.

"The plan should help public agencies to plan spend and a finalised masterplan will provide Newry and Mourne District Council, private sector and community sector to lobby for much needed resources to implement the actions from these innovative plans," he said.

Meanwhile, Councillor Dermot Curran, Chairman of Down District Council said: "I am delighted at the news that the Department for Social Development is providing funding to produce a masterplan for the east coast.

"This exciting initiative will greatly contribute to the development of the tourism product across the three towns of Newcastle, Kilkeel and Warrenpoint and the adjacent Coastal areas.

"It will also complement the extensive public realm works which have been recently completed. I look forward to seeing the finished plan," noting that the masterplan process will help build consensus among government bodies, council, local community and private developers on how to optimise development opportunities.

(BMcC/GK)

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