Funding row threatens £25m redevelopment of Armagh jail
A major regeneration project in Armagh is under threat as a property company in England is close to withdrawing its £11m of funding.
For the past seven years, the Osborne Group has been working on plans to turn Armagh's historic jail into a luxury hotel.
The combined £25m joint private and public venture redevelopment will provide a 65-bed, four-star hotel with a spa and conference facilities, as well as restaurants and an education and heritage centre.
Planning permission for the redevelopment was submitted by the Trevor Osborne Property Group, in partnership with Armagh City & District Council and The Prince's Regeneration Trust.
The Osborne Group said it was "very disappointed" by indications that Stormont departments would not increase their share of the finances by a required £4m.
It has told Armagh council that unless the funding is negotiated by September, it will pull out.
Armagh councillors sent a letter to the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister saying they were "extremely dismayed". They believed Stormont would bridge the funding gap.
The funding from the Osborne Group has increased from £8m to £11m, and there was £2m each from the council and Lottery Fund, but the project needs £10m from Stormont and only £6m has been agreed.