Plans to breathe new life into the derelict Seaview Hall in Glenarm have been given a major boost by Larne Borough Council this week.
The innovative regeneration scheme, spearheaded by Glenarm Buildings Preservation Trust (GBPT), aims to transform the 124-year-old former primary school on the Coast Road into a thriving visitor attraction and tourist activity centre,
The total cost of the long-awaited restoration project will be over £400,000 and the community group has already secured financial support worth £265,000 from the UK-wide Coastal Communities Fund, as well as further funding from Ulster Garden Villages and the Garfield Weston Foundation.
Larne Borough Council also pledged to fund the project to the tune of £40,000 and were poised to award the grant in two instalments over two years from its special purposes budget.
However, chief executive Geraldine McGahey had advised councillors at January’s policy and resources meeting that the local authority could only release funding for special purposes after certain criteria had been applied.
A special meeting of Larne Council was held on Monday evening to deal with the funding issue and allow the Glenarm project to move forward.
Mrs McGahey was not present at the meeting, but director of development Linda McCullough assured elected members that council officers had researched the situation and it had been determined that the Glenarm project did meet the necessary criteria for funding, as it would have a direct benefit to the community.
Councillors therefore resolved to award just over £20,000 to GBPT in this financial year, and agreed in principle to award the balance in the 2014/15 financial year.