Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the District's town centres:
Q1. What is the Council doing to improve all town centres in the Banbridge District?
A1. Banbridge District Council recognises that town centres, which are constantly changing due to internal and external pressures, are important economic and social centres for local communities. It has assisted in establishing development groups within each town to progress urban regeneration. It has also produced a development strategy for each town aimed at revitalising the local economy. It has also assisted in establishing a town centre management company (Banbridge Community Regeneration Limited) in Banbridge and has employed a Town Centre Manager to help develop all towns. In 2005, it completed its major environmental improvement scheme within Banbridge Town Centre at a cost of £1.5 million.
Q2. What is the role of the Town Centre Manager?
A2. The Town Centre Manager is primarily responsible for strengthening the economic and social role of town centres in the Banbridge District by co-ordinating the efforts and resources of all key stakeholders. An integral part of this role is to co-ordinate the work carried out to enhance town centres and improve the communication between traders and visitors. The Town Centre Manager is also responsible for managing initiatives which aim to improve and develop the attractiveness, accessibility and security of the District's town centres with a view to increasing visitor numbers and strengthening the economy.
Q3. Where is the Town Centre Manager based and how can she be contacted?
A3. The Town Centre Manager (Mechelle Brown) is based at the Civic Building, Banbridge. You can contact her directly on 028 4062 0250 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q4. What are the aims of the Council's town centre management strategy?
A4. The aims of the strategy are to:
- Develop an effective partnership between key private and public sector parties who share aspirations, expertise and resources
- Support an effective management structure which will deliver key projects resulting in increased investment in the towns in the District and ensure that progress will be monitored and evaluated
- Support local initiatives and encourage input from the community so that the development of local towns meets the needs of all residents and visitors alike
- Promote the public perception of local towns as great places to shop, visit, live or invest
Q5. Which initiatives has the Town Centre Manager been involved in to date within each town?
A5. In Banbridge the Town Centre Manager has been responsible for overseeing the completion of the the town's environmental improvement scheme. She has also been working with the business community to establish a shop watch scheme, co-ordinate advertising campaigns, set up a web site and develop town centre events including Banbridge BuskFest. In Dromore she has assisted in the development of the strategy for Dromore Town Centre. She has established the Dromore Chamber of Commerce and assisted them to access funding for projects including Christmas lighting, retail promotions, website, a business directory and the Dromore May Fair event. In Gilford and Rathfriland she has assisted in the development of the strategies for both these towns and has worked with the business community to carry out some of the projects which have been identified. These include new Christmas lighting and the development of the Rathfriland Christmas Fest event.
Q6. I am interested in helping to regenerate my town centre. Where can I go to get more information on how I can help?
A6. Anyone interested in playing a part in the regeneration of their town centre can:
- Research which regeneration projects have already been carried out and find out what the future development plans are
- Find out about your local Council's development strategy for your town
- Work within your local community to raise awareness about issues that are affecting the town centre
- Work with like minded individuals from your local community to lobby the relevant authorities for change
Q7. How can the Town Centre Manager support local businesses?
A7. The Town Centre Manager acts as an information resource to assist retail, business and commercial investors. She represents the views of the business community at stakeholder meetings and reports on progress to all interested parties. She encourages business to business communication and co-operation which strengthens the commercial core within the town centre. By exploiting funding opportunities in support of town centre initiatives she works to develop projects which promote the town. She promotes understanding between the private sector and public sector and vice versa by following up requests for help and information from those working within local authority departments.
Q8. Many leading high street retailers have established a base in Banbridge Town Centre in recent years. What has brought about this retail revolution?
A8. Banbridge is strategically located adjacent to the main A1 route from Belfast to Dublin. This location has resulted in Banbridge becoming one of the fastest growing regional towns in Northern Ireland with a reputation as an attractive and desirable place to live. Major investment has been spent on an environmental improvement scheme, which has totally rejuvenated Banbridge Town Centre. This has encouraged the development of long-term derelict sites and has enabled Banbridge to compete with other retail centres. The resulting change in perception of Banbridge has resulted in increased private investment coming into the town. New purpose built retail units have been created in derelict sites and premises have been converted to provide new retail accommodation. This has encouraged the introduction of high street names and strong independent businesses. It is this mix which sets Banbridge apart from its competitors.
Q9. How can I submit or ask a question about town centre development?
A9. You can submit a question by selecting the 'Contact Us' link in the left hand navigation listing. Alternatively, you can contact the Town Centre Manager directly by on 028 4062 0250 or emailing email@example.com