SOCIAL Development Minister Nelson McCausland has confirmed that £150,000 is to be made available to fund projects aimed at revitalising Ballyclare.
Last year the Minister announced that he would be committing significant grant aid to a variety of schemes as part of the ongoing town centre Regeneration Strategy. And this week he confirmed that his department has approved the funding package.
“These schemes have worked very well in other towns and I am sure it will reflect really positively on the overall appearance of properties in the town centre. We need to improve and re-invigorate our towns by enhancing shop frontages, derelict and vacant sites, making them more appealing to shoppers and visitors alike,” Mr McCausland said.
Taking forward a revitalisation scheme in Ballyclare was one of the short term actions identified in the Newtownabbey Regeneration Strategy. Developed by the Ballyclare Chamber of Trade with assistance from Newtownabbey Borough Council and the Department for Social Development, the scheme aims to make the town centre more vibrant and attractive to shoppers and visitors.
A branding and marketing campaign will also be developed to promote the town centre following the property improvements, which are designed to increase footfall and sales for all traders.
Mayor Victor Robinson welcomed the investment, commenting: “The council is delighted that DSD has approved this funding to improve the Main Street and lower end of The Square in Ballyclare, which will complement a number of initiatives the council has already carried out in the town centre.
“We look forward to working closely with Ballyclare Chamber of Trade and DSD to ensure the town remains a vibrant and viable offering for traders, residents and visitors and to progressing the other initiatives within the Newtownabbey Regeneration Strategy.”
Ballyclare councillor and chair of the Town Centre Regeneration Committee, Pat McCudden, also welcomed the funding package.
“I’m delighted that we have the £150,000 in place and I hope that we can make improvements that will give the town a bit of a lift,” he said.
Darren Black, president of Ballyclare Chamber of Trade, added: “This is great news for the town and we are all very eager in the Chamber to get started on this scheme. We have been working hard with the town’s traders to develop our proposals and I am grateful to Minister McCausland and his department and to council for all their support.
“I look forward to seeing the work starting as early as possible.”