Mayor welcomes further investment from Ministers for town centres

Greenvale Street.

THE Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has welcomed the second tranche of support from Ministers towards town and city centre recovery.

A further £11.6million is to be invested in our town and city centres to support them in their recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

The second tranche of the Department for Communities’ (DfC) Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme includes £5.6m from DfC, £5m from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and £1m from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, said: “Our town centres are at the very heart of our local communities and this investment is very much welcomed and recognition of the critical role they play in driving our local economy.

“The Covid-19 lockdown period served to remind us just how greatly our town centres in Mid and East Antrim are valued and how much every shop, business and hospitality establishment located within them – no matter how large or small – contributes to our local lifestyle and visitor offering.”

The funding is in addition to £6m already allocated in Tranche one, bringing the total to a £17.6m investment from the Executive which will assist town and city centres as they adapt to and emerge from restrictions.

Funding in this Tranche will support longer term initiatives such as the creation of cycle paths and pedestrian walkways to encourage car-free shopping, small environmental improvements and the use of open space and vacant premises to provide safe facilities.

The contribution from DfI will particularly focus on initiatives that complement the Department’s Blue/Green Infrastructure policy, by encouraging walking and cycling and reducing traffic emissions in town centres.

In total, DAERA has invested £2m in this scheme to ensure that initiatives are also available to our rural towns as well as urban areas.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been its innovative #RediscoverMEA campaign throughout the last number of months.

This has been a key strand of which is aimed at encouraging citizens to support town centre businesses by shopping and dining local.

Led by MEABC’s specialist Town Centre Recovery Group, the campaign showcases the unique selling points of the Borough’s three main towns – Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus – underpinned by a bespoke narrative and compelling imagery for each location.

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