Funding boost for Larne town centre

A DSD-funded repainting scheme in progress at Dunluce Street last spring. INLT 09-409-PR
A DSD-funded repainting scheme in progress at Dunluce Street last spring. INLT 09-409-PR

LARNE traders are once again set to reap the benefits of a major cash injection to help regenerate the town centre.

Social development Minister Nelson McCausland has announced a £150,000 funding package, which will be used to boost business performance in the town by improving the look of shop fronts in a bid to attract more shoppers.

The Revitalisation Scheme follows the successful implementation of similar projects funded by the Department in recent years, which saw work carried out in areas such as Dunluce Street, Point Street, Lower Cross Street and part of Main Street.

And the aim of the new scheme is to extend these works to the remainder of those properties and businesses located within the town centre, taking in Riverdale/Coopers Lane, High Street, Upper Main Street, Pound Street, Upper Cross Street, Point Street, Quay Street, Agnew Street and Main Street.

The scope of the work will involve painting shop fronts, erecting new signage and carrying out minor repairs and replacements to improve the overall appearance of the premises. It is hoped that this will create a more pleasant environment for shoppers.

Town Centre manager Hazel Bell told the Times that about 130 businesses had been invited to make an application for a share in the funding pot.

“This latest scheme will complete the revitalisation of shop fronts within the core town centre area. A steering group, managed by Larne Traders’ Forum, will be dealing with the funding requests from the various businesses involved, and the work must be completed by the end of March.”

Mr McCausland said he has been “greatly impressed” by the work completed in previous regeneration projects in Larne and felt this latest round of funding would give the town centre “a real boost”.

“There is a remarkable transformation in the appearance of properties and shops in those retail areas which have already benefited from previous schemes, the Minister added.

“I am pleased to announce that we now have an opportunity for a Revitalisation Scheme in Larne that will enable other businesses and properties within the town centre to make similar improvements which will enhance the area as a whole.

“The work undertaken by Larne Traders’ Forum and the support provided by Larne Borough Council in delivering these schemes over the past couple of years is to be commended. These schemes have helped to forge stronger partnerships between traders, the council and my Department. I hope people in Larne can see the progress their town centre is making as a result.”

Mayor of Larne, Councillor Gerardine Mulvenna welcomed the funding announcement and said: “This is really good news for Larne and demonstrates the benefits of working in partnership. Larne Borough Council is pleased to be able to support the delivery of this important investment in the town centre.”

John Shannon, chairman of Larne Traders’ Forum concluded: “The Forum is excited about the opportunities offered to local businesses in Larne Town Centre by this new scheme. The Revitalisation Scheme will assist traders in the town centre to sustain their businesses and attract more shoppers and visitors. The Forum is happy to be working with both Larne Borough Council and DSD in ensuring that the scheme provides benefits for everyone.”

Complementing the DSD revitalisation schemes, Larne Borough Council has completed the grant-aided renovation of the historic McGarel town hall.