Armagh Council is to continue to push ahead with plans to win World Heritage Status for the Navan Fort in Armagh.
It is one of the priorities listed in the council’s budgeted proposals for the next financial year.
The bid has been ongoing for some time now and, if granted this status by UNESCO, it would become only the second world heritage site in the Province, the other being the Giants Causeway.
It would place Armagh on a world stage alongside other recognised gems, which include the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon, Sydney Opera House, the Statue of Liberty and the Great Barrier Reef.
A new advisory board has also been established, including Armagh Council, together with voluntary sector and private sector interests, to help develop the potential of the Navan Centre / Emain Macha.
In striking the recent district rate, the council has budgeted for what have been described as “quality improvements and the progression of World Heritage Status for this important site”.
Other key priorities for the year ahead include:
. the regeneration of Keady centre with the provision of new community space and redevelopment of Keady Glen.
• Environmental Schemes for Richhill and Keady will be progressed in 2014/15.
• Improved traffic management and car parking for Armagh City Centre will be taken forward in conjunction with DRD (Roads) Service.
• Improvements in the area Tourism Strategy and an increased events programme are planned.
• Increased marketing of Armagh City and District as a retail centre in conjunction with its historic and cultural attributes will continue.
• A new quality play area will be developed at the Palace Grounds and the Council currently is seeking funding to develop a themed play experience at the Navan Centre. Opportunities to develop community play areas, particularly on a dual-use basis with local schools, are also budgeted.
• The Masterplan for Armagh will be progressed specifically in relation to the identified development sites.
• The Gaol Hotel development project will be progressed through planning and funding pressures.
• The Shambles Market area redevelopment has been completed and a focus will now be placed on its sustainable use.
• It is a Council aim to establish an Armagh Partnership Organisation/Trust to work actively for the interests of Armagh City.
• The Council is committed to the Neighbourhood Renewal Area and will undertake relevant projects within the Neighbourhood Renewal Areas as agreed with the Partnership.
• The Council will continue to participate in the development of a Masterplan for St. Lukes, Mullinure and Longstone Hospital site for the benefit of the local community.
• The redevelopment of Saint Patrick’s Trian will commence this year to provide modern library services for the District Library and Irish Studies Library. The facility will also provide new, state of the art community facilities and retain some of its current uses as a multifunction centre. This redevelopment has been budgeted on a business case.
• The Council has approved in principle the development of a dual-use recreation facility to service local schools and the community. The development of a Masterplan and a detailed planning initiative will be taken forward this year.
• The Council is committed to maintaining and improving levels of services to the community.
• The Council wishes to improve its website and connectivity through all forms of media to ensure there is modern form of access to council services and information.