East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has expressed his delight at news that Carrickfergus has been named the “Best Market Town” in Northern Ireland according to a new study commissioned by Royal Mail.
The survey rankings were influenced by a number of factors such as average earnings, house prices, access to services, crime figures, skill level of the population and unemployment figures.
Mr Dickson said: “This is a welcome recognition of all that Carrickfergus offers. This accolade highlights the skills of the local community and reflects the efforts of organisations such as the Carrickfergus Town Centre Partnership, which is chaired by my party colleague, Noel Williams, for the past two and a half years, in making Carrickfergus a competitive town that people want to visit.
“I would like to offer my congratulations to all of the local businesses and shop owners, whose endeavour no doubt played a massive role in taking Carrickfergus to the top of these rankings. Their hard work in running excellent enterprises has finally been recognised and I am proud to represent Carrickfergus as part of East Antrim.
“Furthermore, I am also glad to learn that Larne has been ranked sixth on this chart. It is also a wonderful town with a vibrant population and attracts many visitors.”
Mr Dickson concluded: “I hope that this news encourages the people of Carrickfergus, Larne and the whole of East Antrim to continue their hard work in making their towns and villages appealing to all.”
Royal Mail said Carrickfergus took the top spot, “scoring highly on work-life balance and affordability”.
Randalstown made the top four. Larne was ranked sixth.
Royal Mail said Antrim, in seventh, “scores well due to affordable housing and low crime”.
Larne was ranked sixth.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “This new study demonstrates the breadth of market towns providing attractive places for people across the UK to live and work in.
“For people who value a good work-life balance, there are plenty of market towns to choose from. Royal Mail connects communities and businesses across the UK, delivering to nearly 30 million addresses.”