As ‘retail capital of Mid Ulster’ signs come down Cookstown’s chief says town is now thinking bigger

Cookstown's old signs dubbed it 'retail capital of Mid Ulster'
Cookstown's old signs dubbed it 'retail capital of Mid Ulster'

“Our vision for Cookstown always will be the retail capital of Mid Ulster... and that hasn’t changed,” says chief executive of Cookstown council.

Speaking just days after banners claiming this title were taken down and replaced with the town’s new secondary slogan ‘Visit, Shop, Enjoy’ Adrian McCreesh said the new posters are just the latest move in the town’s “ongoing brand development campaign”.

New signs in Cookstown say 'Visit, Shop, Enjoy'

New signs in Cookstown say 'Visit, Shop, Enjoy'

When asked why the new signs didn’t carry the same message he said “our aspirations now go beyond that”.

It is still unclear whether the town distanced itself from the self-proclaimed title in an effort not to offend their new Mid Ulster council neighbours.

Paid for by the Department of Social Development the new banners cost around £7,500 and were agreed on by both the council and Town Centre Forum.

“This is our fourth or fifth change since we established our town centre strategy in 1999,” explained Mr McCreesh.

This is our fourth or fifth change since we established our town centre strategy in 1999 - Adrian McCreesh

“We were one of the first provincial towns to create a strategy and the objective of the strategy was to identify over 26 key actions to regenerate what was then a very poorly performing town centre.

“Our brand of Cookstown is ‘Looking Good, Looking Great’ that is what’s on our roundabout, that is what’s on our publication - that is how we branded our town and our identity.

“We have established ourselves as a retail capital - that was our vision - we have already achieved that,” he added.

“Our aspirations are to now go beyond that. Cookstown is no longer just a regional town, it is one of the top nine hubs in the whole of Northern Ireland.

“We compete on all fronts, whether it’s retail, economic, manufacturing, social, services or environmental. We are competitive and we are punching above our weight.

“We are the envy of most councils and unrivalled by any in what we have achieved in our town centre.”