25 January 2017
Communities Minister Paul Givan has announced that he is extending his Department’s scheme to regenerate public spaces to small towns and villages.
The Department’s Public Realm Programme which includes improvements such as upgrading pavements, lighting and street furniture, was previously restricted to towns and cities with populations over 5,000.
The scheme will now be extended to towns and villages with a population of more than 1,000.
The Minister stated: “As I outlined in November 2016 in my statement to the Assembly, there are many small settlements which serve the same role in the community as larger places but which, because of our current practice, do not directly benefit from the investment in the enhancement of public and shared space available to their larger neighbours. I have now decided that the Public Realm Programme should be extended to include settlements with populations of 1,000 persons or more. A phased approach will be adopted and we will begin with settlements of over 2,500 persons. The scale and speed of implementation will be dependent on the budget available.
“Throughout my time as Minister I have seen the impact of public realm schemes such as those in Cookstown, Belfast, Larne and Lisburn, with many more schemes underway across Northern Ireland. I want to ensure that people who live, shop and socialise in smaller settlements have the same opportunity to access investment for public space developments as their counterparts in our larger towns and cities.”
The Department will also work closely with local Councils and the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in the implementation of this programme.