An initiative that could lead to £80million investment in Mid and East Antrim Borough took a significant step forward this week.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Karen Bradley signed the Heads of Terms for the Belfast City Deal, alongside the Belfast Region City Deal partners and the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
This is seen a major milestone towards the completion of the first City Deal for Northern Ireland. The Belfast Region City Deal will see the Government invest £350 million over the next 15 years.
It is proposed that this figure will be matched by the Northern Ireland Executive once the devolved institutions are restored.
The City Deal will be further bolstered by upwards of £150m from its partners and investment by the private sector is anticipated to bring the total package to over £1 billion.
Welcoming the announcement, Anne Donaghy, chief executive of Mid and East Antrim Council, said: “I am delighted the Heads of Terms for the Belfast Region City Deal have been finalised as we move forward with this once-in-a-generation opportunity.
“The significant economic benefits for our area include plans for around £80m of investment in Mid and East Antrim, including the St Patrick’s Barracks site in Ballymena, The Gobbins and Carrickfergus.
“Together with the backing of our elected representatives – who have demonstrated unwavering support to our focus on economic growth – we have introduced and delivered a number of initiatives which have the potential to transform the economy in this borough - an area that has suffered the biggest loss of jobs in Northern Ireland in recent years.”