By Donal McMahon
THE iconic view of Warrenpoint beach is set to receive a major financial investment that will bring the shore front in to the modern era with the reprisal of much of its past glory.
Internationally recognised as a perfect post card image of the middle of the last century, the scene is due to return with an increased focus on a regular supply of a sandy shore and an investment of hundreds of thousands of pounds to the surrounding area from Dock Street to Coles Corner.
The Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) initiative through the Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism (ERT) committee will also witness an enhancement of the beach front and a one way traffic system, to compliment the view point that attracts thousands of visitors every summer season to the south Down shore line.
The proposals including key existing elements such as lighting, pathways, street furniture as well as planting and hedging will seek approval at the NMDDC meeting in February.
Concerns over coastal erosion, ensuring greater pedestrian safety and future proofing the scheme will also be brought into a public consultation due to be rolled out in due course this year with a concept design yet to be formulated.
Crotlieve councillor, Mickey Ruane, an appointed member of the Warrenpoint Front Shore Public Realm Scheme, Task and Finish Group spoke to the Democrat and welcomed the front shore public realm scheme being moved to the next stage.
“The seafront development will be a much needed boost the town's economy,” said Mr Ruane.
“It will not only improve existing infrastructure, but will add to and enhance it further from the corner of Dock Street to the beach area.
“The inclusion of the sanded area is something I have been lobbying on for a number of years and I believe will transform the amenity area of the beach.
“In these uncertain times it is imperative that we as a council continue to improve our town and district,” added the Warrenpoint councillor.
Consultants AECOM were appointed in mid 2020, commissioned to look at the overall extent of a potential scheme to see what could be proposed and was possible within the various sections running from Dock Street to Coles Corner, along the shore front.
With a few minor amendments, it was agreed at the last ERT meeting for a concept design to be put out for public consultation this year, prior to the submission of planning application and economic appraisal thereafter.
NMDDC’s corporate plan with a capital budget set aside for this council’s term is to have a happy and connected community, a vibrant and sustainable economy and appealing places for living, working and learning, much that many will greatly appreciate post Covid 19 lockdown.
Those behind the study suggest that the Warrenpoint plans would assist in the development of the overall scheme working towards meeting this vision by improving one of the most scenic parts of the district, the Warrenpoint front shore.
Warrenpoint Harbour Authority will now need to be consulted by the council with a response coming from the port authority in due course.
A spokesperson for NMDDC told the Newry Democrat this week that the planning process for Warrenpoint front shore was now at an advanced stage with the crucial public consultation process due to go online in the coming weeks.
“Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is currently working with its consultants to finalise the concept design drawings for a planned consultation process that will be rolled out within the next few weeks,” said a council spokesperson.
“The consultation documentation is currently being finalised and the process will be hosted online given the current Covid-19 restrictions.
“Following conclusion of the consultation process, the scheme drawings will be finalised to allow submission of a planning application and in turn a completed economic appraisal will be put forward for consideration of a funding package to deliver the actual works.
“Subject to the above steps having been undertaken and approved, a definitive timetable for scheme delivery will then be confirmed,” added the spokesperson.