WORK has just begun on phase one of the Cookstown Dereliction scheme that will see some run-down buildings given a makeover.
The intervention, which was awarded £120,000 funding from Department of the Environment, includes derelict properties in commerical areas of Cookstown, as well as some outlying towns and villages.
Phase one of the scheme covers work on 18 of the 35 properties included in the overall plan - due to finish in March 2014.
The buildings involved will be cleaned up and painted, then plywood (hoarding) will be used to block windows and doors before streetscape graphics are added to make the properties look like they are open for business.
The council have estimated that phase one of the work will be finished by mid January next year.
While the contract for phase two is now out out to tender, with a contractor still to be decided upon.
A spokeperson for Cookstown District Council provided this statement to the MAIL: “Council has identified a number of buildings/sites which are either derelict or in a poor state of repair throughout the Cookstown District.”
“The identified buildings/sites, which are located in the commercial centre of Cookstown town, surrounding villages and hamlets, were highlighted in the recently published Cookstown Town Centre Masterplan and individual Village Plans.
“Through the completion of works, the aim is to provide a ‘facelift’ to ensure the buildings/sites are more visibly aesthetically pleasing.
“Thirty five properties have been identified, with works being completed under two phases.
“All works will be completed by the end of March 2014.”
At last month’s council meeting, UUP Councillor Trevor Wilson voiced his concern over the project.
He said: “I find it strange that people are getting awarded for not looking after their properties.”
Mr Wilson has since added: “I fully welcome the scheme and anything that helps Cookstown.
“In light of the shop front scheme being run in tandem with this, people have to make a donation towards the work being done.
“I find it strange that people who have allowed their property to go into disrepair are actually going to get some of the safety work and facial work done, but they’re going to get that 100% funded.”
The funding for the work in Cookstown, and fourteen other council districts, was approved on July 15, this year by former Environment Minister Alex Attwood.
Work in the fifteen council districts included in the scheme will cost Department of the Environment £1.5m in total.
It is hoped the funds will enhance the environment and remove dereliction, in turn boosting tourism and local trade.