CONSULTATION on the draft Omagh Place Shaping Plan content has commenced, and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and consultants KPMG Future Analytics are encouraging residents to have their say.
Place Shaping looks at how we can make our communities stronger and more resilient in the future through understanding what we have in terms of assets, i.e., our buildings, our green spaces, our skills and knowledge, our community groups, and our public services. We want to build on our rich history, our strategic geographic and economic location and our tourism potential to secure a sustainable social, economic and physical regeneration.
The Draft Plan development was overseen by the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Planning Partnership through an appointed Omagh Place Shaping Steering Group which included elected members for the Omagh District Electoral Area alongside, wider community planning representatives, business and community and voluntary sector representation.
The draft plan outlines the ambition for Omagh Town up to 2035: “Omagh will become an increasingly vibrant, attractive and inclusive town. A reimagined and animated green heart for the district, enhanced by progressive regeneration and revitalisation in tandem with enhanced connectivity.
"Omagh will be a place of choice, inspiring people, communities, visitors and investors to locate and thrive in the heart of Tyrone’. There are six identified themes: A Green Heart; Capitalising on the natural environment including in the town itself and the surrounding countryside. A Beautiful Place; Re-imagining Omagh town centre as a more attractive and animated place. A Connected People and Place; Improving connectivity and accessibility throughout the town, linking neighbourhoods and communities with town centre and wider environment An Inclusive Place; Ensuring Omagh is an inclusive place with a prosperous, well educated, and healthy community. A Thriving Town; Increasing employment opportunities and ensuring supports for existing businesses A Vibrant Place; Identifying how to progress the many opportunity sites located in and around the town
"The document identifies how these will be realised with the proposal of 20 high level actions that have been identified through a review of key data and evidence; consultation and engagement as well as a review of the challenges the town faces economically in the context of post-pandemic; the development of the Shared Education Campus; increase of vacant sites, as well as the Fermanagh and Omagh District’s commitment to reducing the impact of climate change and embracing a more sustainable approach to development."
Speaking about the plan, the chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Barry McElduff said: “I am delighted that the draft Omagh Place Shaping Plan is now open for consultation.
"I would strongly encourage residents to have their say. Local people’s ideas and proposals are both necessary and welcome if we are to shape the future of Omagh. Omagh is a vibrant town, with an important strategic position within the region. We have a rich history, beautiful scenery and notable attractions and amenities.
"However, the draft plan, which has been developed from over 500 contributions does highlight that there are common themes which need to be addressed.
"These issues include the need for high quality jobs to retain and attract young people, investment in our infrastructure, reimagining our town centre and capitalising on the River Strule as an asset of the town. In the past we may have turned our back on it.”
Chair of the Community Planning Partnership Cllr Errol Thompson said: “The development of this Draft Place Shaping Plan for Omagh Town Centre showcases the capability of community planning in bringing the right people around the table which all have a part to play in its realisation.
"This process will be about each organisations’ ability to support the ambition through a collaborative and coordinated approach to delivery in the years ahead”.
The Chair of the Steering Group set up to lead the development of the draft plan Cllr Matthew Bell added: “This has been a very collaborative process in the development of the Draft Place Shaping Plan with a wide range of community planning partner organisations taking part and supporting the co-design of the document to date.
"We have ensured that businesses, community and voluntary organisations, children and young people and the public have been included in this process from the start.
"This eight-week period of consultation gives those that have worked with us along the way an opportunity to see their thoughts and ideas visualised and to tell us what they think. It also allows for others who haven’t been involved up to now to get on board and help us shape the ambition for Omagh Town for up to 2035 to ensure we have a town that delivers for the people that work, live and visit it.
"We are excited as we enter the final stages of agreeing the content of a Place Shaping Plan for Omagh Town”.
The draft plan and survey are available on the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council website at www.fermanaghomagh.com/and consultation which is live until 12 noon on Tuesday, September 13. You can scan the QR code on your phone below to read the document and complete the survey also.
The Community Planning Partnership would like to thank those who have contributed to the plan to date, KPMG for assisting with the development of the plan and the Department of Communities for funding this initiative.