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Council’s £110 million war chest to bolster borough’s facilities.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

A TOTAL of £110m in capital funds is set to be spent by the ABC council over the next four years, the Ulster Gazette can reveal.

More than half that total has been allocated to projects currently underway, however, £45m has been set aside to deliver a number of upcoming projects as part of the council's capital programme, with a number of proposals for Armagh and surrounding areas up for consideration.

One of the suggested projects includes the purchase of new municipal cemetery land for the Armagh area.

The land purchase has been allocated £500,000 and although specific details are not contained in the report, the paper understands that under early consideration is an extension of the Ballynahone Cemetery in the city, or alternatively, the Orchard Cemetery in Richhill.

The project is likely being put forward in order to increase future provision of municipal cemetery plots in the area, with concerns raised over recent years that the Armagh area is 'running out' of graves.

The scheme is one of a number of ideas contained in a confidential report - obtained by the Ulster Gazette - which outlines two project lists - one described as potential, while the other outlines schemes that have not as of yet undergone full feasibility assessment.

Elsewhere, a new Armagh Recycling Centre is potentially in the pipeline, again with an estimated price tag of half a million, which could also be linked to Portadown's Fair Green amenity site, if a proposal - also contained in the programme - to relocate the site between Portadown and Armagh comes to fruition.

Tourism is also featured on the proposed project list, with £2.5m potentially earmarked for visitor infrastructure and Armagh County Museum, with a separate scheme to allocate £750,000 in match funding to the Navan Centre.

The city's Market Place Theatre could also be set to undergo a minor works programme that would see over £1,095,000 spent on its front-of-house areas, including reception and bars, as well as its box office.

Flagship schemes such as the new £30m Armagh Leisure Centre, the City Linkages project, which will see £2.5m invested across the city centre and the major revamps of Gosford Park and Darkley Forest - also form part of the £110m spend by the council - along with the completed public realm schemes in Richhill and Keady.

Other high-profile schemes included are the long-running Armagh Gaol project, which has been earmarked £4m of capital funds to contribute to the overall £28m price tag, as well £2m for the Loughgall Masterplan, focusing on delivering improvements in the local country park

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