The Department for Social Development has officially unveiled its £370,000 public realm improvement scheme in Glengormley town centre.
DSD representatives were joined by Deputy Mayor Pat McCudden and local councillors for the official unveiling of the Portland Avenue regeneration project on Thursday afternoon, March 12.
The improvement works have included the laying of new pavements and kerbs, installation of new street lighting and a reconfiguring of the on-street parking system. The area has also benefited from road resurfacing, shop front improvements, new street furniture and planting.
Welcoming the outcome of the £370,000 investment in the town centre, Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey MLA commented: “I very much welcome the completion of this scheme as public realm improvements can play a pivotal role in the regeneration of our towns.
“Enhancing the appearance and aesthetics of Portland Avenue has made Glengormley’s town centre more welcoming. Not only will this support existing traders, but it will act a catalyst for new investment.”
The Minister added: “This scheme marks the completion of a public realm scheme contained in the Masterplan for Glengormley and I am pleased that this work has progressed a number of actions contained within it. This is in no small part down to the efforts of the council and the regeneration team.”
The Newtownabbey Regeneration Strategy Implementation Team was established by Newtownabbey Borough Council to oversee the Town Centre Masterplans for Ballyclare and Glengormley and comprises elected councillors, trade and business representatives and statutory bodies.
Deputy Mayor of Newtownabbey, Alderman Pat McCudden said: “This scheme was identified in the Newtownabbey Masterplan which sets out a regeneration strategy for Glengormley throughout which the council has worked closely with the Department for Social Development. Improvement works have included the undergrounding of overhead wires, granite paving and shop front enhancements. We are very grateful to the department for this fantastic funding which helps rejuvenate the town centre and create a sense of civic pride.”
Newtownabbey Borough Council, which contributed around £37,000 to the overall project, and the Department for Regional Development’s TransportNI unit co-funded the resurfacing of the carriageway following completion of the public realm works.
While the Portland Avenue regeneration project has had obvious aesthetic benefits, some have questioned the wisdom of spending so much money on giving one street a facelift, arguing that the improvements will do little to increase footfall in the town centre.
Meanwhile, work on a DSD-funded regeneration project at nearby Tramways is also nearing completion.
The area has benefited from repainting and shop front improvements, including new signage and the installation of coloured awnings.
“It looks really well and the public seem to be really impressed with it,” said Cllr John Scott, who runs the Twice is Nice charity shop.
“I think it’s one of the best schemes the DSD have done in the town centre,”