11/05/2006

Government urge developers to revitalise old sites

The government is today urging property owners and developers to regenerate vacant, derelict and underused buildings or land to help revive five Northern Ireland towns.

Social Development Minister David Hanson, has announced that he is to extend the Urban Development Grant (UDG) on a pilot basis to Ballymoney, Dungannon, Larne, Lurgan and Strabane.

Funding of up to £1.25 million is available until 2007/08, with discretionary grants of amounts of up to 40% being given to commercial projects.

The Minister announced that preference will be given to projects at landmark locations throughout the towns and also to places of historic interest, which will be able to be restored and redeveloped for new uses.

Speaking earlier, David Hanson said: "I would encourage developers and owners of empty or neglected properties or sites which are positioned in prime locations in these towns to register their interest with the Department for Social Development as soon as possible.

"The expansion of the Urban Development Grant Scheme on a pilot basis presents a great opportunity to revitalise these towns by improving their appearance, encouraging investment and creating jobs."

The government has issued a closing date for expressions of interest, which is Thursday June 8 2006 at 5pm.

The Department will only request full grant applications from promoters whose projects best meet the criteria.

For more information on the project, log onto www.dsdni.gov.uk or by contacting 028 9032 9885.

(EF/SP)

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