Craigavon is set for a £320k boost with a new project to give two struggling areas a facelift - four years after the first proposals were drafted.
After many years of neglect, the financial stimulus aims to breathe new life into Tullygally and Drumgor.
The project was given the green light by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council last week.
A council spokesperson said: “Plans to improve both precincts have been in discussion since 2013 when proposals were drafted and it had been hoped funding would have come through the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.”
Council are to appoint a design team which will revisit, refresh and enhance the existing plans in order to future proof the design and take into account any new proposals. A consultation process will also take place.
“The work will consider a range of environmental improvements including footpaths prone to flooding, street lighting in a poor state of repair and landscaping.”
SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden, Chair of the Leisure and Community Services Committee, said: “This £320,000 scheme is a welcome boost to the central Craigavon area. Council’s Corporate Plan highlights the need to make strides in improving the quality of life for the people of the borough, growing the local economy and securing a prosperous future for all. These themes are at the heart of this revitalisation scheme and the work will be used as an opportunity to leverage funding from other sources to further invest in the local community.”
Local DUP MP David Simpson said: “I have met with the people of Drumgor and visited the area many times to see first-hand the desperate need that the community is in. This area has not benefited from any investment for many years and it clearly visible on the ground.
“The investment from Council is a dip in the ocean of what is needed in Central Craigavon but I will continue to work with all organisations to see that this funding to improve central Craigavon is mirrored throughout all Government departments who have an interest in the area.
“It is now for Council to engage fully with local community to ensure that they have an input into where this money is spent. Everyone has the right to feel proud of where they live.”
Local DUP Cllr Robert Smith said: “Central Craigavon has been somewhat forgotten and left behind. This investment is to be widely welcomed and I will be working with council officers to ensure that the money is spent on the ground and the local people will soon start to see visible change.”
SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said: “I am delighted following the SDLP campaign that the green light has been approved by Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to rejuvenate and regenerate the Tullygally and Drumgor Centres.”
Mrs Kelly said: “Central Craigavon is not only an important shopping area but a key route which many people from Craigavon use daily going to schools, shops and many local services. Moreover, this will ensure that this important area is not left behind.
“This is an important step in identifying the full regeneration potential of this area which is so important in the growth of Craigavon and generate to its full potential.”
The SDLP representative for the area Thomas Larkham also urged local businesses, community groups and the local people to get involved in the development and consultations on the proposed designs.