Almost 500 buildings lying empty

Almost 500 non-domestic properties - mostly shops - are lying empty throughout Newtownabbey.

As of March 18, 499 unoccupied buildings were recorded across the borough, including Ballyclare and surrounding villages, marking an increase of just two since 2010, according to figures in a Belfast newspaper.

Among the vacant buildings are farms, advertising stations, filling stations and church halls, with shops, showrooms, supermarkets and warehouses making up the biggest chunk.

Despite the recession however, the number of specifically shop-type units in this group have seen a slight improvement with figures showing a fall to 77, from a high of 94 in 2010. Similarly the number of empty offices has fallen slightly to 116 from 118 in 2010.