Concern over shortfall in Magherafelt town centre funding

The Diamond Magherafelt.INMM3213-366SR
The Diamond Magherafelt.INMM3213-366SR

Magherafelt’s hopes of rejuvenating the town centre could be knocked on the head due to a shortfall in funding.

The local District Council heard on Tuesday night that the budget being allocated to the new Mid-Ulster Council may have insufficient funds to complete the proposed public realm scheme.

Plans for the £2.5 million scheme were drawn-up about a year ago following a lengthy public consultation.

The council is aiming to improve and enhance public spaces within the town centre and to regenerate it as pedestrian friendly area. It also considered street furniture and materials, signage and art work within the town centre.

However, there had been concerns expressed by the Unionist community that the scheme could entail the removal of the flag pole at the roundabout and loyalist arch.

At Tuesday’s monthly meeting, councillors heard that the Department for Social Development (DSD) had informed the council that on April 1 next year, each new council cluster will receive an allocation of funding.

This would be required to address community/voluntary support and urban regeneration initiatives in the three council areas.

Policy and Development Officer Anne Marie Campbell recommended that the council continue to progress with the submission.

Sinn Fein Councillor Brian McGuigan proposed that the council secure its funding by writing to the DSD raising their concerns.

Party colleague Councillor Sean McPeake said that they should progress with the submission and also jointly lobby with other councils in the same position for the monies.

Council chair Councillor Catherine Elatter said the local business community would be very disappointed if the scheme did not go ahead.

Members decided to continue with their submission with a view to securing the necessary funding from the DSD.