29/05/2009

Armagh City's Masterplan Unveiled

A blueprint for the future development of the historic Cathedral city of Armagh has been unveiled.

The masterplan launch coincided with the completion of the Market Square Public Realm improvement scheme, which features in the blueprint.

Work to transformation Armagh Gaol into a boutique hotel will also fall under the masterplan boundaries, it was revealed.

Almost 100 initiatives have been listed in the plan, which will shape Armagh's regeneration over the next 10-15 years.

The Department of Social Development said it will carry out an economic analysis of the town's retail, commercial, leisure business and residential sectors and the identification of opportunities for growth in these areas.

Officials have also pledged to build upon Armagh's strong identity, historic setting and rich built heritage and analysis transport and parking requirements in the city.
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A vision and strategic regeneration objectives will be developed, focused on bringing new life into existing historic buildings; and the opportunity to maximise the benefit to the town by upgrading existing walkways, street layout and accessibility.

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie said plans by a private developer to redevelop Armagh Gaol will see it transformed into a boutique hotel with accompanying office and residential accommodation.

"I am pleased to see private development working in partnership with public regeneration to transform the iconic, invaluable site of the former Gaol," said the Minister.

"Its sympathetic restoration will bring about much needed investment in to this area of the city. I commend all those involved in this project."

Ms Ritchie welcomed the completion of a street redesign in the Market Square area.

"The Public Realm scheme is another milestone in the rejuvenation of Armagh City and has provided a major enhancement to the appearance of the city centre," she said.

(PR/JM)

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