£18k to tidy up town ahead of Giro d’Italia

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More than a dozen Larne businesses are to share in a cash injection of £18,000, designed to spruce up their premises ahead of the prestigious Giro d’Italia this summer.

The event, billed as one of the world’s greatest cycle races, will start on May 9 with three stages in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland before riders travel to Italy to continue the race from Giovinazzo on May 13.

On Saturday, May 10 the riders will take on a 218km route, setting off from Belfast and making their way via Templepatrick and Antrim to the north coast before returning to Belfast along the Co Antrim coastal route, taking in Carnlough, Glenarm, Ballygally, and Larne.

And plans are afoot to ensure that the borough looks the part in front of the eyes of the world.

The Department for Social Development is providing the £18,000 grant to help business along the race route in Larne town centre carry out improvements to front of their properties.

The route within the wider town centre boundary stretches from Glenarm Road (from Princess Gardens) along Circular Road to the junction with Glynn Road/Bank Road.

A total of 13 businesses have frontages along this route and have been invited to make applications for a share in the funding pot.

The improvement works must be completed by March 31, and the maximum amount of grant available for each property is unlikely to exceed £1,500.

Larne Borough Council has agreed to contribute up to 10 per cent of the funding towards the revitalisation scheme.

Director of development Linda McCullough has also confirmed the council will be promoting an Italian Week in the run-up to the event.