27/08/2008

Ritchie Views 'Vision' For Omagh

Draft proposals for the future of Omagh were discussed this week as the NI Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie, visited Omagh District Council's offices yesterday to hear - and see - details of the proposals.

Commenting on the Council's exhibition on the development, the Minister said: "This exhibition showcases the proposals for the future regeneration of Omagh. It presents an exciting and forward thinking set of proposals which offer a symbol of hope through regeneration, to transform this historic county town to a vibrant area of which people can be proud.

"It is important that the people of Omagh and the surrounding area take the opportunity to view these proposals and to share their views with us.

"This will ensure that the final documents will represent the views of the people who will be most directly affected by these developments."

Chairman of Omagh District Council, Councillor Martin McColgan, said: "The Visioning Framework and Town Centre Masterplan provide an ideal opportunity for us to plan together for the future development of Omagh.

"I welcome the co-ordinated approach between the Department and Council in this work and I look forward to its continued development in the weeks ahead."
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The proposals are contained in two complementary documents, the Omagh Visioning Framework 2025 prepared by Colin Buchanan and Partners on behalf of Omagh District Council, and the Omagh Town Centre Masterplan prepared by the Paul Hogarth Company on behalf of the Department for Social Development.

The draft documents have been put on display in a joint exhibition, and the public are invited to view the proposals and submit their comments to the Council or DSD over a six-week period ending on Friday 3 October.

The Visioning Framework 2025 proposes a range of social, economic and physical interventions that could shape the future development of the town.

This includes consideration of infrastructure needs, brownfield site development opportunities, the design of current and future gateway locations, and suggests priorities for enterprise, tourism and educational initiatives.

The Town Centre Masterplan focuses on the regeneration potential of the town centre, bringing forward proposals which ensure that the town centre protects and capitalises on its existing assets - its vibrant centre, its historic core, and its riverside location. It also proposes how new developments should be shaped to maximise benefits for Omagh's residents, business sector and visitors.

Once finalised, the documents will form important components of guidance for Omagh District Council and the Department for Social Development as they prioritise regeneration and development opportunities.

(PR/JM)

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