Public Consultation begins in Gilford, Markethill and Rathfriland for a new Environmental Improvement Scheme

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Graphic for Small Settlements Regeneration Programme

A public consultation has commenced in Gilford, Markethill and Rathfriland as Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council launches its Environmental Improvement Scheme to invest over £2million for the rural towns.

The Scheme is one strand of the Small Settlements Regeneration Programme and is funded in collaboration with the Department for Communities (DfC), the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Department for Infrastructure (DfI).

The proposed investment will deliver new pavement treatments, lighting, enhanced shared space, street furniture, signage and decorative features designed to complement the rural towns experience.

The Council are keen to hear from residents, businesses and community groups within the areas and encourage people to get involved in the proposed developments.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Alderman Margaret Tinsley, said:

“It is exciting to see the start of the public consultation for the Environmental Improvement Scheme in Gilford, Markethill and Rathfriland. As part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to regeneration, this investment will see small but significant enhancements to these rural areas. The consultation is now open, and this is a fantastic opportunity for those who live and work there, to express their views and have their say to help improve our rural towns and villages for everyone.”

Public questionnaire surveys will be carried out in-person in each of the towns on Tuesday 12th, Friday 15th and Saturday 16th September to gather opinions. Members of the public are also asked to give their views by completing a short online survey at www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/consultations.

Gerard Murray, Director of Regional Development in DfC, said:

“The Small Settlements Regeneration Programme has provided more than £26m to empower councils in revitalising the economies of our smaller rural towns and villages.  Initiatives such as the Environmental Improvement Schemes will not only enhance community spaces and increase economic opportunities, but they will also provide a more attractive environment for residents and visitors.  I would encourage everyone to share their insights, ideas and aspirations and to play an essential role in these exciting transformations.”   

A spokesperson for DfI said:

“The Department for Infrastructure is pleased to contribute towards the Small Settlements Regeneration Programme which has already brought many benefits to rural communities. I would encourage the residents of Gilford, Markethill and Rathfriland to respond to the consultation and make the most of the improvement plans for their local areas.”

Teresa O’Neill, Director of Rural Affairs in DAERA said:

“I’m delighted this public consultation has now launched providing residents, businesses and community groups within Gilford, Rathfriland and Markethill the opportunity to have a say on environmental improvements that will regenerate their local area.”

Importantly, there will also be consultation events in each area where the public are welcomed to further engage with the proposed plans and share their views.

Starting on Tuesday 26th September in Gilford Community Centre, Wednesday 27th September in Rathfriland Community Centre and Wednesday 4th October in Gosford Forest Park from 2.00pm to 7.30pm. There will be scheme presentations held at 2:30pm and 6:30pm. Staff will however be on hand between these times to answer any queries.

The information and plans will remain on display for several weeks after the events for members of the public to view and comment on.

To find out more about the Public Consultation and the Small Settlements Regeneration Programme, visit https://www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/business/smallsettlements/