The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, today announced €48 million in funding for a suite of regeneration projects in Sligo town. The projects are being funded under ‘Call 2’ of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).
€48m funding will transform Sligo town centre
The URDF funds projects aimed at enhancing urban areas to make them more attractive places in which to live, invest and visit.
The projects for which URDF support have been approved are:
- Sligo Public Realm Plan – the transformation of a number of Sligo’s streets and spaces – €19.16 million
- City Campus – Sligo’s cultural and learning hub – an exciting project incorporating the strategic transformation and regeneration of a brownfield and underutilised site in the town centre between Stephen Street and Connaughton Road.
The vision is for this urban block (Connaughton Road/Stephen Street/ Holborn Street/Lake Isle Road) to become a new cultural, innovation and learning hub comprising an exciting collaboration between Sligo County Council and IT Sligo in the provision of a new public and academic libraries, an Innovation Hub, commercial office spaces, residential spaces etc – €28.68m.
The funding announced today will build on the initial allocation to Sligo County Council in 2018 of €560,000 and will enable the delivery of the ‘Sligo Streets’ project which recently completed a Part 8 public consultation: https://consult.sligococo.ie/en/consultation/sligo-city-centre-public-realm-enhancement-project. Construction on this project is being planned for early 2022.
This project will be the first of a programme of public realm interventions which will be delivered over the next 6 years and will transform the town centre. This programme of works is based on the 2018 Sligo Public Realm Plan: https://www.sligococo.ie/planning/SligoCityCentrePublicRealmPlan2018/
The Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Councillor Dara Mulvey said
‘The two schemes announced this morning will be a major catalyst for the regeneration of our town and will provide a much-needed economic boost and stimulus for job creation for Sligo – for both town and county. The improvements to our streets and spaces will require a change in how we use our town and a shift in our perception of the importance of vehicles relative to people. Our Public Realm Programme for Sligo town focuses on reclaiming our streets and spaces for people with the aim of significantly improving the experience of the town for residents, tourists, visitors, businesses.’
Mayor Councillor O’Grady also welcomed the news;
‘The nature of retail has changed and as customers move on-line we, as a local authority, have to be innovative and make brave choices in order to ensure that our towns and villages remain relevant, viable and vibrant. We need to re-imagine our town centres, we need to bring people and jobs and create a self-perpetuating cycle of regeneration and revival ensuring that our urban areas remain relevant into the future, these two projects exemplify this challenge and vision.’
Acting Chief Executive Tom Kilfeather commended Sligo County Council’s Project team for the quality of the funding submission.
‘I believe the level of funding allocated to these projects reflects great credit on Director of Services Dorothy Clarke, Senior Planner Frank Moylan, Executive Planner Leonora McConville and their team for preparing an excellent application for funding under the URDF Scheme. I also want to acknowledge the support of our Councillors and local TD’s at every stage of this process, today’s announcement is excellent news for this Authority and the people of Sligo.’
According to Sligo County Council’s Director of Services Dorothy Clarke
‘Urban centres now need to offer more than retail. They need to offer an ‘experience’. They need to be pleasant and comfortable places to be in, with opportunities for shopping and window shopping, eating and drinking, but also opportunities to people watch, socialise, linger, exercise, enjoy on street entertainment. This requires a shift in how we use our spaces., and our proposed public realm programme is designed to achieve this transformation.’
Public Realm Plan
The Public Realm programme for Sligo is based on the 2018 Public Realm Plan prepared by Building Design Partnership in consultation with the Planning Section of Sligo County Council.
The aim of the overall programme is to enhance and promote Sligo town as an attractive and pleasant place in which to live, invest and visit.
Our programme so far includes but is not limited to the following projects:
- The creation of an attractive usable space on Market Cross;
- The enhancement of historic Abbey Street;
- The redevelopment of Quay Street car park into a new public space;
- The implementation of a Wayfinding and signage strategy for Sligo town.
Sligo County Council is committed and is looking forward to delivering this programme over the next 6-7 years in consultation with local community groups, businesses and property owners, members of Sligo County Council and the wider public.
City Campus- Cultural and learning hub
The City Campus project involves the strategic transformation, regeneration and redevelopment of a brownfield, underutilised and semi-derelict block of land in the town centre of Sligo between the existing County Library and Connaughton Road.
The vision is for this urban block (Connaughton Road/Stephen Street/ Holborn Street/Lake Isle Road) to become a new cultural, innovation and learning hub located within the heart of Sligo comprising some or all of the following:
- a new Central Library co-located with a Sligo IT academic library branch together known as Sligo Learning and Ideas Generation Centre - SLIGC;
- a new county museum showcasing Sligo’s rich cultural heritage and acting as a new flagship tourism attraction located within the heart of the city;
- Refurbishment and re-use of the existing library building
- enterprise and office development providing graduation space for fledgling start-ups emanating from the SLIGC;
- residential units promoting sustainable inner city living and working;
- high quality public spaces
The regeneration and redevelopment of this area will contribute to the development of Sligo so that it can achieve the critical mass capable of attracting employment, talent and investment opportunities in a self-sustaining manner into the future while ensuring a high standard of city centre living. It will add much needed modern and spacious accommodation to the housing stock and will create a new vibrant urban area in the city with an enhanced “liveability” factor.
All selected projects support the National Planning Framework’s ‘national strategic outcome’ of compact growth, which was a particular focus of the second call for URDF proposals. The Fund aims to facilitate a greater proportion of residential and commercial development, supported by infrastructure, services and amenities, within the existing built-up areas of larger urban settlements.