£4 million facelift to transform Lisburncity centre

LISBURN is to get a £4m facelift after the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland announced a major transformation scheme aimed at regenerating the city centre.

Working jointly with Lisburn Council, the Department’s funding will regenerate the main city centre streets and public spaces to what has been described as ‘high quality contemporary design standards’.

Mr McCausland said: “This is an ambitious scheme which will significantly raise the quality of the environment in Lisburn city centre and help it to attract new business and leisure activities that will help to diversify the city centre’s economy and sustain activity outside traditional business hours. This investment in Lisburn is a fundamental part of our strategy to deliver the economic regeneration of the city centre and ensure that it remains vital and viable for the future.

“We know from the success of public realm improvement schemes in other towns and cities that regeneration projects such as this can transform a place. They also sustain employment in the construction sector, which in turn supports the wider economy.”

The total cost of the Lisburn Public Realm scheme is estimated at approximately £4 million. This will be funded by contributions of up to £2,750,000 from the Department for Social Development and £1,250,000 from Lisburn City Council.

As recommended in the Lisburn Masterplan, which was published in September 2010, the project will create a high quality public realm in two priority areas of Lisburn city centre – Market Square and Bow Street. In addition to these streets, consideration is also given to other key streets/areas in the city centre that could benefit substantially from public realm improvements, including Haslem’s Lane, Market Street and Graham Gardens.

Alderman Jim Dillon, Chairman of the council’s Economic Development Committee said: “This is great news for Lisburn and encouraging to see the Department investing in our city centre to enable us to deliver one of the key regeneration projects identified in the City Centre Masterplan.

“The Council is investing £1.25 million in the scheme which is a prime example of how central and local government are working together for the betterment of the Lisburn area.”

Alderman Allan Ewart, Chairman of Lisburn City Centre Management, said: “Lisburn City Council has worked very hard over the years with capital build projects and city regeneration. This multi-million pound investment in the city centre is great news and will significantly improve the city’s landscape for businesses, residents and visitors to Lisburn which is very welcome indeed.

“Improvements to the public realm will not only enhance the environment for visitors to Lisburn but will attract much needed investment into Market Square and the surrounding area that will see Lisburn become an even stronger city able to compete economically now and in the future with towns and cities across Northern Ireland and farther afield.”

Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots also welcomed the news. He said: “This started out quite a number of years ago when Lisburn City Centre Management initiated a masterplan for the city.”

He continued: “The Minister’s £4 million investment is the start of this process and I look forward to Lisburn receiving further realms of funding so that that quality of the environment can be greatly enhanced for visitors and people of Lisburn.”

Mr Poots drew parallels with the once run down Sheffield which benefited from public and private funding several years ago. He said: “While Lisburn is not on that scale, significant investment would help encourage shops, hotels and office developments in an area where it had become run down.”