Market Yard project ‘under review’

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THE Market Yard project - a Museum and integrated Tourist Information Centre and public event space at Market Yard - is now ‘under review’ the Coleraine Times has learned.

The decision was taken after a funding application to the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) was unsuccessful.

A spokesperson for Coleraine Borough Council told the Coleraine Times a decision about the project‘s future would be taken at a council meeting later this month.

“The Market Yard project is currently under review since receiving notification that the application for funding was unsuccessful. The decision on going forward will be made by council at the next meeting,” said the spokesperson.

The news came to light at last Tuesday night’s council meeting and must now raise serious concerns about the project as a whole.

But the Interim Director of Leisure, Mr Peter Appleton, told council there is a potential liability of £500,000 should the project be closed.

“In October 2010, Council agreed to progress with the essential conservation works to historic Market Yard structures and the submit a PEACE III capital funding bid for one of the Borough’s signature projects,” he said.

“The conservation works project has been commissioned and is in progress, this is due to be completed by December 2011.

“Following feedback from the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) in 2010, after our submission narrowly failed to meet the funding criteria, a revised £3.94m PEACE III bid was submitted in January 2011.

“The initial bid successfully passed the Stage 1 Assessment and Economic Appraisal, the revised bid was geared towards an iconic PEACE III project, following the feedback from SEUPB in 2010.

“However officers have been advised the bid submitted in January 2011, has fallen short of the Stage 1 Assessment, a stage it passed successfully previously, and will not be further considered for funding.

“As reported to Council in October 2010 though, there is a potential revenue liability of circa £500k for the associated preliminary works, should the Market Yard project be closed.”

By STEVEN CRAWFORD