With less than 18 months to go before The Open Championship comes to Portrush, the Department for Communities (DfC) has outlined progress on its £17million regeneration plans for the town.
With works already underway on the public realm scheme and planning permission now secured for the regeneration of the train station, the programme is on track to deliver improvements to the town in time for The Open.
Today the Department has announced that as part of the regeneration programme it will be providing £500,000 to revitalise the frontages of businesses in the town.
Pauline Campbell from the Department for Communities said: “The Open represents a massive opportunity not only for Portrush but for the wider Northern Ireland economy. This £17million investment by DfC represents our commitment to delivering improvements to the town for the Championships, but also importantly for the longer term prosperity of the town for the many people who live in and visit Portrush. The improvements put the town in a position to maximise the huge economic benefits that this tournament and its legacy will bring.”
The re-development of Portrush train station is one of the key projects in the Portrush Regeneration Programme. This project, which is led by Translink, has now reached a key milestone with planning approval being granted for a new fit for purpose station.
John Glass, Translink Head of Projects explained: “This is an exciting new development for the town, providing modern facilities to cater for growing passenger numbers and supporting local tourism.
“The new station will offer fully accessible, modern waiting facilities, improved passenger information and signage to local amenities and attractions. The enhanced frontage onto Eglinton Street, will create a more prominent sense of arrival to the town as a key gateway to the Causeway Coast.
“We expect to have contractors on site from Spring 2018 with the new station being completed ahead of the Open Championship in July 2019. Some preliminary work to demolish the warehouse adjacent to the listed Station building will commence in the next few weeks.”
Public realm works to improve the streetscape in Portrush are also underway. This project, which is led by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, will complement the other recent investments in Portrush including Station Square, East Strand and West Bay promenade and will help transform the seaside town with new granite paving, lighting and street furniture.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE added: “This extensive regeneration programme will put Portrush in a fantastic position as the town prepares to host the biggest sporting event ever staged here. The multi-million pound investment combined with the resort’s stunning natural landscape will allow us to deliver a world class event when The Open returns next year. We want this regeneration to serve as a catalyst for future growth. As Northern Ireland's most visited seaside town, Portrush is one of the Causeway Coast and Glens’ key tourism assets and I look forward to seeing this regeneration programme make a lasting difference to the town's long term economic outlook.”
To complement all this excellent work, the Department has also announced an investment of £500,000 for local businesses. Pauline Campbell from DfC said: “The Department is also pleased to announce that as part of the £17 million planned investment, £500,000 will be made available for a revitalise project in Portrush. This revitalise scheme will complement the other works already underway and will help to ensure Portrush is looking its very best in advance of The Open.”
The revitalisation scheme will support existing traders by providing financial assistance to improve the attractiveness of the shop frontages. This scheme will be managed by the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, on behalf of the Department for Communities. More information, including details of how to apply, will be announced shortly.
Pauline Campbell concluded: “This is an ambitious programme and the Department is grateful to all its partners for their commitment to delivering these improvements at what is an exciting time for the North Coast.”
Notes to editors:
1. Photo captions are as follows:-
Public realm improvements underway in Portrush as part of the Department for Communities Regeneration Programme to improve streets in the town in advance of hosting The Open in July 2019. Pictured are (L-R) Joan Baird OBE, Mayor of Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Jim McCloy, F P McCann and Pauline Campbell from the Department for Communities.
Portrush to get a new train station as part of the Department for Communities Regeneration Programme which will deliver improvements to the town in time for The Open 2019. Translink has recently secured planning permission for the new station with contractors expected to be on site from Spring 2018.
2. The £17million Portrush Regeneration Programme was endorsed by the Northern Ireland Executive in December 2016. The programme focuses on the following priority areas:
- Public Realm;
- Redevelopment of the Train Station;
- Urban Development Grant specific to Portrush;
- Transport/Parking; and
- Implementation of other key regeneration initiatives in the Portrush Regeneration Strategy.
3. Public realm and Train Station projects are scheduled to be completed before July 2019.
4. The Public Realm project is underway. Contractors (FP McCann) have been appointed by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, and work has already commenced in Lower Main Street and Causeway Street. Work will continue until May 2019, with a moratorium over the summer period to minimise disruption in Portrush during the busy summer period. The public realm scheme includes Main Street, Dunluce Avenue, Eglinton Street, Ramore Avenue, Causeway Street, Lower Lansdowne and Bath Terrace.
5. The process to appoint contractors for the train station is well underway. Demolition work will include both the existing modern block-built station and a warehouse which is physically attached to the partly vacant Victorian train station building. This warehouse is not part of the listed Victorian building (which includes the clock tower). The listed Victorian building will remain.
6. The Department is progressing applications to its open call for a Portrush specific Urban Development Grant scheme. This process is ongoing.
7. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on 028 9082 3505 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Out of hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.
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