Communities Minister Paul Givan has launched a regeneration scheme specific to Portrush to help bring vacant, derelict or underused land and buildings in the town back into use ahead of The Open Championship in 2019.
Speaking during a visit to Royal Portrush Golf Club, the Minister confirmed that the Northern Ireland Executive had previously endorsed his Department’s significant regeneration plans for the town, subject to the usual business case approvals and a future budget settlement.
The Urban Development Grant (UDG) scheme is one of the key regeneration measures that has been identified as being crucial to long term regeneration.
Leading the first meeting of a strategic working group to involve key Departments and Agencies that will be instrumental in preparing Portrush for The Open Golf Championship in 2019, Minister Givan said: "The planned Portrush Regeneration Programme will help to transform the town into a successful, high quality resort which will act as a centre for tourism in preparation for The Open Championship in July 2019. The Open at Portrush will have an estimated audience of over half a billion people with an estimated 200,000 spectators expected to attend the event itself. It therefore offers a great opportunity to promote Northern Ireland positively on a global scale.
"The planned regeneration works, led by my Department, will improve the infrastructure in Portrush. It will enhance the appearance and appeal of the area and increase the attractiveness of the town and its surrounding area for members of the local community and visitors."
The Department previously announced £500,000 of funding to commence design work on two key projects: the public realm scheme and the train station redevelopment.
The Minister added: "The scale and detail of the overall programme will be finalised once a budget outcome is known. But in order to be ready for this, I am delighted to announce the opening of a £3million Portrush-specific Urban Development Grant Scheme today. I am keen that we maximise the benefits The Open presents and ensure that we make every effort to invest in the infrastructure and built fabric of the resort, both in the run-up to the event and to create a legacy beyond. I am confident that this scheme will help to enhance properties in the town centre, create jobs, attract private sector investment and improve the built environment."
Urban Development Grants are discretionary grants provided to help bring vacant, derelict or underused land and buildings back into use. Applications are being invited from developers from 11 January 2017 and must be received by the Department by 22 February 2017.
More information, including the application form, notes and a map of the eligible area can be found online.
Potential applicants are asked to note that an Urban Development Grant workshop will be held on 24 January 2017 at Portrush Town Hall from 2pm to 7pm. This will allow prospective applicants the opportunity to meet and ask Departmental officials about the scheme.
Notes to editors:
1. The Department for Communities has secured Executive endorsement for a Portrush Regeneration Programme. The resourcing of the Programme is subject to business case approvals and budget settlement.
2. The main aspects of the Portrush Regeneration Programme are planned for delivery before The Open Championship in 2019, and will focus on the following priority areas:
- Public Realm;
- Redevelopment of train station;
- Urban Development Grant specific to Portrush;
- Transport/Parking; and
- Implementation of other key regeneration initiatives in the Portrush Regeneration Strategy.
3. The Department for Communities previously provided £500,000 funding in Portrush during 2016/17 (£250,000 for the public realm design works and £250,000 for train station design). These schemes are part of a wider programme of works being developed as part of the Portrush Regeneration Programme that aims to implement the recommendations contained in the 2007 Portrush Regeneration Strategy.
4. Urban Development Grant (UDG) operates under the European Commission’s General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). All aid provided under this scheme will be within the limits set out in Articles 14 and 56 of Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (General Block Exemption Regulation).
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