Limavady borough councillors are backing a masterplan designed to regenerate derelict areas of the town centre, which Environment Minister Alex Attwood will see for himself today during a visit to the town.
The minister will also see derelict sites in Dungiven during an afternoon visit.
The issue of dereliction in the borough is an issue Council wants to tackle. Alongside the Town Centre Masterplan, in conjunction with the Department of Social Development, which is aimed at ‘restoring’ Limavady’s town centre, there are also bids to secure funding to tackle ‘dereliction’ throughout the borough, including Dungiven.
“Limavady Town Centre has suffered from dereliction over the past few years,” says Council’s Director of Development, Valerie Richmond.
“This has manifested itself in vacant properties and gaps in the main streets, as well as some neglect for the character of the town itself.”
The plan, at ‘draft proposals’ stage, suggests measures to improve shop fronts whilst still retaining the “character” of the town centre.
“Traditional shop frontages and designs should be utilised to retain the character of the town centre; replacement windows and/or doors should match the design of the original or where it is not known, a design typical of the original age of the building will suffice,” reads the draft.
With regards for potential for the ‘ReStore’ Scheme, Limavady Borough Council says it has taken some guidance from Derry City Centre Initiative, in terms of the delivery and scope for a shop front restoration scheme.
“In addition, council staff has spoken informally to the Chamber of Trade, and nonaffiliated traders, and have presented some initial discussion to elected members,” said Ms Richmond. “There is broad agreement on the need for such a scheme. In these informal discussions, some agreement was reached that the first area which could be attempted should be the upper end of Catherine Street, and Linenhall Street.
This is referred to as the “Western Gateway” to the town centre in the Town Centre Masterplan. It was generally agreed that the run-down nature of both these streets warranted immediate attention in the initial roll-out of the scheme.”
The Masterplan also suggests particular attention be paid to listed buildings in need of repair and “screening” certain sites, for example, the “void beside Limavady Courthouse”.
The plan is being developed in conjunction with the Department for Social Development (DSD).
Limavady Borough Council is also bidding for DoE funding on the back of “Minister Attwood’s wish to address dereliction across council areas in the event that funding becomes available towards the end of the current financial year.”
The bid pinpoints a number of measures that could be taken in both Limavady and Dungiven, two areas the bid document says have been “blighted by dereliction”.
The ‘restore’ Town Centre Masterplan being draws up with DSD outlines the work planned for Limavady, whilst specific derelict locations in Dungiven are also identified as being in need of work.
The bid document proposes cleaning up existing dereliction in Dungiven, building on the good work carried out by the community, and includes photographs of specific sites and proposals for what could be done with the money.
A further bid for funding to tackle dereliction, being made jointly with the councils in Omagh, Strabane and Fermanagh, is also to be lodged with the Social Investment Fund.