I HAVE to say I was surprised at Bill Liddle’s shock regarding the council’s decision to reject the marina proposal.
The truth is, Bill, I believe the council is simply echoing the feeling of the vast majority of the people of Larne who are and always have been opposed to this development at the location suggested. What Bill failed to grasp years ago and apparently still fails to grasp is the fact that if the proposed site was further into the lough, such as at Curran Point or the Howden’s Quay area, the people of Larne would probably have been 100 per cent behind him. But then that wouldn’t have been as suitable for the expensive apartments which would accompany the marina.
This, in my opinion, is the real reason why Bill Liddle and the other members of the Larne Marina Company have been fighting so long to get their plans accepted. It is and always has been to do with building expensive apartments in a prime location that, without the carrot of a marina being dangled, would never even have been considered.
Larne Marina Company thought that by offering to build a marina they could secure planning permission for apartments on the seafront. Well, fortunately for the people of Larne, it appears the idea has been rejected.
The one thing that Bill Liddle says which I do agree with is that Larne is desperately crying out for investment, but the sort of investment the town needs is not luxury apartments. We need to attract investment in manufacturing and we certainly need to be investing in the retail trade in Larne.
At the moment Larne is dying from a retail point of view with shops closing and only this week one of the town’s oldest pubs closed down. The Town Hall refurbishment has been long due and is going to improve the look of that part of the town centre, but there’s other areas that look like a slum.
Larne certainly needs investment, but let’s strive for investment in areas that will be of most benefit to the most people, rather than investments in an area that will only benefit those well enough off to make the most of it.