A strong ‘partnership approach’ between the public and private sectors will help realise investment opportunities and drive regeneration in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, according to the Council.
Speaking at a recent event in Craigavon Conference and Civic Centre, Council leaders said its strong business focus in highlighting the borough’s attractiveness as a place in which to live, work, learn, visit and invest has already seen considerable investment into the area.
According to Alderman Gareth Wilson, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, the Council is committed to continuing to proactively explore and advance opportunities with the local private sector.
“As the largest council area in Northern Ireland outside of Belfast, both in terms of population and economic activity/GVA output, we are uniquely positioned to access key markets and are showing strong growth in key sectors of the economy such as advanced manufacturing and agri-food.
“We are already seeing considerable investment in the borough, but there is always the potential for more to follow. We believe that by further strengthening our collaboration and working partnerships with the local private sector, we will be able to attract additional investment.
“The benefits of helping the borough to realise its full economic potential in this way will, in turn, be felt by both local businesses and the wider community.”
Recent investment within the area includes an upcoming 7,400 sq ft Marks and Spencer food hall at Marlborough Retail Park in Craigavon and a new £5m Lidl store in Lurgan, underlining the attractiveness of the borough to large UK retailers. This follows the £1billion acquisition of Moy Park, and announcements of a £4m investment focus in The Outlet in Banbridge and £5m investment in new facilities by Almac.
Roger Wilson, Chief Executive, said that as part of the Council’s mission to drive investment and promote economic regeneration, it will return to MIPIM UK in London later this month –the UK’s largest property and investment conference.
“MIPIM UK provides a marketplace for UK property companies, public and private sector organisations as well as international investors to engage, discuss and explore potential projects and opportunities,” explained Mr Wilson.
“At MIPIM UK, we will actively promote the borough’s strong investment proposition. This will follow on from our attendance last year, where our profile was raised with a genuine interest in several regeneration projects amongst a strong national and international audience.”
As part of the Council’s visit to MIPIM UK, it will host a networking event within the capital – supported by The Lotus Group, Rushmere Shopping Centre, TLT Solicitors and Turkington – with the aim of engaging with investors and its own diaspora.
Also speaking at the event was David Gavaghan, Chair of the CBI in Northern Ireland, who said it was “critical” that as the economic landscape transforms, the Council engages with people and businesses across the globe.
“Promoting the significant assets of people and place internationally is part of a strategic push by the Council to promote the borough as a place worth investing in, and is exemplary of what we should all be doing,” he said.
“Only by networking and creating more new dynamic partnerships, will further momentum be created. Everyone from public to private, rural to urban, large businesses to small businesses will benefit from such an approach.”