The Chairman of the Dromore Partnership, Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, has said he is confident the regeneration of Dromore will gather pace in 2014, with a number of major projects taking shape.
“The Dromore Partnership is confident that 2014 will be a significant turning point in the regeneration of Dromore and recovery from the most difficult economic recession for many years that has had such a devastating impact on the local economy,” said Mr Donaldson.
“This year will see significant progress with a number of major projects in Dromore. Work is to begin shortly to construct the much awaited new Primary School building on the Mossvale Road and negotiations are at an advanced stage to purchase a site for a new building to house Dromore High School with facilities fit for the 21st Century.
“On the economic front, the Partnership is currently undertaking a feasibility study into the creation of a Dromore Enterprise Centre that we hope would be located in the environs of the town centre and offer facilities to local people involved in the craft industry or starting their own business. We hope to receive a report early in 2014 on the viability of such an Enterprise Centre and will then be in a better position to evaluate the demand for this type of facility and the role it could play in regenerating the town centre and increase footfall in the retail area.”
Mr Donaldson continued: “The Partnership will also complete the review of the Dromore Master Plan and we anticipate the first draft being available by April, following the public consultation process that is to be carried out in the town. We would ask local people to participate in the survey and give us their views on the way forward for Dromore.
“The Partnership is also pursuing with the Department for Social Development the potential to establish an Urban Regeneration Scheme in Dromore that would give us access to an even wider range of powers to help with the renewal of the retail sector and the rejuvenation of the town centre.
“At community level, Banbridge District Council is planning to proceed with a bid to purchase the former Police Station and if successful, they will turn this into a community hub to offer important facilities to local community organisations.
“The Council is also at an advanced stage with its plans to introduce wifi in Dromore town centre which it is expected will be available from January this year. Work has also commenced to create the new community garden in the town centre.
“2013 was a very difficult year for Dromore with the closure of the Danske Bank branch and the Police Station,” concluded Mr Donaldson, “Dromore Partnership recognises the continuing challenges faced by the local community but we also see this coming year as one of opportunity and we intend to maximise the potential of those opportunities for the benefit of the community.”