At last! Everyone else was talking about it, but we weren’t allowed to say……..but last Friday, the funders finally officially announced it, so now we can too!!
After two years of hard (but very enjoyable) work with our colleagues in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Cavan County Council, Fermanagh and Omagh Council, East Border Region Partnership and Waterways Ireland, we have NEWS 🙂
We started out with an ambitious plan to develop a long distance greenway across the whole of mid Ulster. We have developed a map of possible routes and an outfit called RPS have been working on an SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) since early this year.
Because the route is SO long, we knew it couldn’t possible be delivered all in one go, so we identified various sections which could be done in phases. One of these phases, from Smithboro in Co. Monaghan, in to Monaghan town to connect to the existing 4.2km of canal greenway, then continuing from the far end of the greenway onwards into Co. Armagh to Middletown, was submitted last December to the INTERREG VA Programme under their Cross Border Greenways measure. On Friday last, December 9th, the Special EU Programmes Body announced an allocation of €4.95 million to the project.
The funding will cover the design and construction of a 3m wide walking and cycling track along the tow path of the disused Ulster Canal. Where necessary, fencing, gates and lighting will be included. Local connections with key places of business, schools and residential areas along the route are also planned, as is a connection along the N2 bypass over to the Dublin road. A Community Engagement programme is planned, to support people to make the shift out of their cars, at least for some shorter journeys, and to walk and cycle more.
The project route still has to be tied down in detail, and planning permission etc still has to be gone through. consultation with landowners along the route will commence in spring 2017. We expect, all going well, that construction will get underway by the end of 2018, and that work will be largely complete by the end of 2020.
There will be two posts created to oversee the delivery of the project. These will be based in Monaghan County Council, and will be advertised over the next few weeks in the local press, on the Council’s website, and here.
One will be a Project Manager post, pitched at Executive Engineer level. This will be a 4 year contract on a full time basis
The other will be a Financial Administrator post, pitched at Clerical Officer level. This will also be for 4 years, but on a part time, 20 hours a week basis
We will be re-designing this website shortly, to make room for Phase II, the SEA on the Regional route, and other developments as they happen.