New retail units for Larne

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Renovations were underway at the King’s Arms Hotel site to turn it into what was Larne’s newest shopping centre in April 1984.

At the time of writing, the ballroom, where many of Larne’s couples had met, had been demolished.

It was believed that a large retail chainstore was set to take over the site in the near future.

Work had also started in the once bustling buttery section to transform the Main Street end of the Broadway hotel into six retail units.

It was felt that the new shops would “provide a badly-needed new lease of life in Larne town centre.”

Planning permission for the venture had been swiftly granted and work commenced a short time after staff served their last customers in December 1983.

The entire contents of the King’s Arms Hotel had gone under the hammer in a two day auction.

The change-over meant that some local clubs and organisations which met regularly in the hotel had to find a new home in other local hotels.

Larne Rotary Club was one of the groups affected.

Meanwhile, also in April 1984, a new electoral office to serve the East Antrim constituency opened in Glengormley. The office on Portland Avenue was busy supervising the preparation of registers for both the South and East Antrim constituencies. The staff moved there the previous month after being previously located at a site on the Mill Road in Newtownabbey for a temporary period. The need for the office arose from the increased number of constituencies in Northern Ireland as a result of the boundary commissions review.

Deputy Electoral Officer, Cecil McKeag said: “Newtownabbey is one of the biggest local government districts in NI and although this office is based the borough, my area actually covers all four district council regions. It really is a full time job keeping our information up-to-date.

There is a very high turnover of people leaving the area, or becoming entitled to vote by reaching the age of 18 years. It is difficult to appreciate.”