News

Market House Cash Injection

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

THE long-running project to return Rathfriland Market House to its former glory has been given a cash injection of 36,200.

It was announced yesterday (Monday) that the National Lottery has awarded funds to the Rathfriland Market House Development Association.

The move in the right direction comes after years of negotiation and planning by members of the local community to renovate the derelict building.

Initially the Market House Development Association applied for just under 700,000 and has been awarded the smaller amount in this first round of funding.

The association wants to carry out a full refurbishment to convert the market house into small business units on the ground floor and community accommodation on the upper floor.

The project is being backed by The Prince's Regeneration Trust who say they are helping the association "decide on the appropriate ownership mechanism for the market house so that they can be fully prepared for the challenges and responsibilities involved with the building".

“Bringing the market house back into use will make it a vibrant community and commercial space once again, at the heart of an economically depressed area," a Prince's Regeneration Trust spokesman said.

Plans for the building were put on public display back in December 2014 with Ballynahinch Market House put forward as a model for Rathfriland's own renovation project.

Rathfriland Market House built in the 1700s, was once home to a petty sessions court, the town's market, a soup kitchen and more recently a community church.

However, the building right in the centre of town is now empty.

Local UUP representatives have jointly welcomed the Heritage Lottery funding awarded to the Rathfriland Market House Development Association.

Assembly candidate Harold McKee, Alderman Elizabeth Ingram BEM and Councillor Glenn Barr issued a joint statement saying: "We hope that this amount of money will be of great economic benefit to Rathfriland town centre and the wider community, bringing potential business and tourism opportunities to the area.

“We very much welcome this Heritage Lottery Funding as the market house is certainly in need of improvements and is a great news story for the town.

“Well done to all those involved in securing the funding. We recognise that a lot of hard work and effort has been put in to a successful bid by the members of the Association."

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