Mid and East Antrim Council are now in a position to bid for capital funding, should it become available, towards the a Glens of Antrim Greenway project.
In February 2018, a study for the Glens of Antrim Greenway proposal identified a corridor running from Ballymena to Cushendall along the route of the old railway lines.
The traffic-free route would be designed for non-motorised use, to connect people and communities of all kinds to destinations for commuting, everyday journeys or leisure and recreation.
A study was carried out to explore in more detail the possibility of delivering such a project, getting a feel for landowner acceptance and also to provide indicative costs.
It included discussions with key landowners, four community consultation evenings and an online questionnaire where local people could contribute their views.
The consultation evenings were held in key hubs along the route corridor including Ballymena, Broughshane, Martinstown and Cushendall.
Vice Chair of the Operational Committee, Councillor Mark McKinty, said: “There are numerous health and economic benefits to greenways.
“Hopefully this project will come to fruition and attract many more visitors to Mid and East Antrim.”
With large distances of the old railway line no longer intact, the study provided a realistic route and engineering suggestions based around community consultation.
The Department for Infrastructure (Dfl) have indicated that capital funding (50% of capital costs) will be available in the coming months to fund greenway projects that are ‘spade ready’.
The current government stalemate has meant the much anticipated funding has been delayed however this has permitted Council the time to carry out this informative study.
This project could attract a significant number of tourists to the area with walking holidays proving popular with local and internationals visitors.
The Glens of Antrim Greenway will provide new opportunities to local people and offer them the chance to make lifestyle changes by choosing to walk or cycle on shorter journeys rather than using vehicles.