£3.2M VILLAGES BOOST

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

THE quality of life and economic prospects of communities in seven District Villages is being greatly enhanced thanks to a £3.2Million Funding package.

The regeneration of the seven villages is making significant progress with environmental improvement works after the villages received £3.2million of funding from the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale (MGL) Rural Development Partnership.

Grant funding from the Village Renewal Scheme of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) 2014-2020, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Commission administered by MGL’s Local Action Group (LAG), is being provided to the rural villages in conjunction with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

The environmental improvement works will enhance the physical and social infrastructure within the villages of Annalong, Ballyhornan, Dundrum, Hilltown, Killyleagh, Newtownhamilton and Meigh. The villages’ extensive enhancement works include a combination of new paving, new street lighting, gateways, railings, shrubbery and landscaping, tree surrounds to existing trees, new tree planting, removal of overhead wires and coloured road coatings.

Discussing the current progress, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin said, “In the current climate, investments such as the Village Renewal Scheme are vital in helping to improve the quality of life and economic prospects of our district’s rural communities, supporting them to be areas our residents are proud to live, work and importantly, invest in. In turn this scheme is assisting the Council to achieve the core outcomes of the Council’s Corporate Plan”.

Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of MGL Rural Development Partnership said, “The regeneration of rural villages under the Village Renewal Scheme is a wonderful example of how local communities actively engage and inform development initiatives to enhance their futures. The works to date have already begun to improve the aesthetics of these rural villages and as communities are currently spending more time in their own localities, the improvement works are in turn helping to instil a sense of ownership”.

All works are expected to be completed by early 2021, with all village businesses remaining open as usual throughout the project timescales.

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