Belfast Telegraph

£1.5m more to tackle dereliction

A further £1.5 million is to be invested in tackling dereliction in towns and cities across Northern Ireland.

The funding commitment from the Department of the Environment comes after revamps of a number of areas preparing for major events received a broad welcome.

Portrush was given a face lift prior to last year's Irish Open, Londonderry got the same treatment ahead of its year as UK City of Culture while parts of Fermanagh were cleaned up before the G8 summit was hosted in the county last month.

The additional money was allocated by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to Environment Minister Alex Attwood as part of the June Monitoring re-allocation of Executive funds.

"This dereliction funding scheme grows from strength to strength," said Mr Attwood.

"Money pumped into Portrush and Portstewart gave a welcome boost before last year's Irish Open. Similarly Derry benefited from a significant improvement in advance of the City of Culture as did Fermanagh in the weeks preceding the G8 summit.

"Already £2 million has been spent in nine council areas including Belfast. Many more can now do so.

"This is a project of increasing significance. Tourists will be put off by eyesores. If we deal with dereliction, vacant properties and abandoned building sites, we create the opportunity to attract local investment and tourists. So for the councils who will receive allocation, I urge them to 'press on' and I will continue to bid for in year monies to take forward this successful scheme.

"This investment is also for the people of the area. They will have the character of their built environment improved."

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