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Armagh Gaol project in turmoil as property company set to withdraw funding

The project to regenerate the old Armagh city gaol in a multi-million pound hotel is today in turmoil.

The Osborne Group, which has been working with the council on the project, could withdraw their £11m investment unless Stormont stump up the extra £4m cash required to go ahead with the plans.

The BBC reports that the Group has told the council that unless the funding is negotiated by September, the project will be a no-go – another devastating blow to Armagh’s economy.

“I think it would be a disaster for Armagh if this did not go ahead,” said Trevor Osborne, head of the Bath-based property group, speaking to BBC News.

“What has proved difficult is for the individual budget holders to come to terms with what they should each contribute.”

The former women’s prison is to be converted into a 4* hotel and spa.

The development will also include seven retail units and a total of 32 apartments.

In a statement former chief executive of Armagh Council, John Briggs, said: “This is clearly a hugely disappointing blow for Armagh, particularly after so many years of planning, commitment and hard work.

“However, despite this, we remain hopeful that a resolution can still be found to ensure this vitally important project goes ahead.”

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