Perry Street virtual shop fronts planned for Coalisland under new £50,000 scheme

Derelict shops in Coalisland could soon be concealed behind “virtual” window displays similar to Dungannon’s Perry Street under new plans worth more than £50,000.

Owners of vacant premises in the town centre will be offered up to £1,125 of funding to install virtual graphics and hoardings over shop windows, doors and shutters as part of a new property improvement scheme.

The plan, worth up to £56,250, could see empty properties covered up with painted-on shop fronts in a similar style to Perry Street in Dungannon.

It comes amid concerns over the future of Coalisland’s town centre following the closure of several prominent businesses in recent years.

Perry Street, Dungannon

Window shopping: Thousands of pounds were spent fitting virtual shop fronts to derelict premises on Perry Street in Dungannon

The property improvement scheme, organised by Dungannon council and funded by the Department for Social Development, will target 50 properties in the Coalisland town centre and neighbourhood renewal area.

It will fund 75% of eligible costs up to a maximum of £1,125 per property, and can be used on work including:

  • Painting and decorating ground and upper floor building frontages and prominent gables
  • Replacement or renewal of shop signage
  • Repair of stonework and render including reinstatement of architectural features
  • Refurbishment and repairs to plaster, woodwork, gutters and downpipes
  • Virtual graphics/hoardings for empty shop windows, doors and shutters

Dungannon council is awaiting approval from the Department for Social Development to use a quantity surveyor to assist in implementing the scheme.

The council is expected to make a public call for funding applications in the coming months.

In 2011, Dungannon council shelled out almost £50,000 in grants to 18 Coalisland businesses as part of its Shop Front Enhancement Programme.

“Not one commentator or reporter thought to question the ridiculousness of spending almost £20,000 on covering up the reality of a doomed and broken street.”

>COMMENT: Media ‘virtually’ tricked by Perry Street

Among the businesses to benefit, O’Neill’s Bar in the town received the maximum grant of £4,000 to carry out an elaborate medieval makeover.

It has not been decided at this stage if the council’s latest property improvement scheme will be open to premises which previously received funding.

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