The owners of one of Larne’s oldest family-run businesses have warned the area is slowly becoming a “dead-end town”.
Following a wave of recent closures (see p5), fears have been voiced that the town is “dying on its feet”.
Shirley Mitchell, whose father Tom opened McKeen’s butcher shop on Dunluce Street in 1953, said: “We as a family feel that Larne town centre is suffering very badly.
“I think part of the reason for the decline is because of changing nature of the way people shop.
“People want convenience and everything under one roof, or to buy things online and have it delivered to their doors. High streets will inevitably suffer, and it is a sign of the times, unfortunately.”
Shirley said this downward trend was particularly keenly felt in Dunluce Street, adding that it was “soul crushing” to watch the continued degradation of the once-bustling street.
“This used one of the busiest streets in the town, and it is very upsetting to see what has become of it,” she added.
“I think it is past the point of no return for Dunluce Street and it may now be beyond saving.
“There has been a severe lack of investment over the years. The council is currently in the process of trying to revitalise Main Street, but Dunluce Street and other fringe parts of the town centre have been ignored over and over again.
“Our family has a very loyal customer base at McKeen’s and we are thankful for their continued support, but a lot of new-start businesses are finding it very tough to gain a foothold and many have come and gone.
“The withdrawal of the Troon ferry service earlier this year shows that Larne is turning into a dead-end town.
“Something needs to be done urgently to give this town a much-needed boost.”