Larne town centre ‘still open for business’

The entrances to local businesses during public realm work in Larne. INLT-38-702-con
The entrances to local businesses during public realm work in Larne. INLT-38-702-con

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to embark on a marketing campaign to promote Larne town centre during ongoing public realm works.

The £2.2m scheme, which began in July and is scheduled to last until summer 2016, will involve the provision of stone kerbs, stone paving, semi-mature tree planting and the supply and installation of street furniture, signage, street lighting and feature lighting.

As reported in last week’s Larne Times, some Lower Main Street traders have claimed their businesses are being seriously disrupted by the improvement work.

In a bid to provide a boost to traders, the local authority is spearheading a £7,000 marketing drive designed to reassure the public that the town centre remains open for business.

Using the strap line ‘Hang in there with us while we improve Larne town centre’, the campaign will strive to provide a positive message throughout the course of the project. This will include erecting banners bearing messages such as ‘Open for business’ and ‘Thank you for your patience’.

But the council said it will be “realistic” by acknowledging that there will be “unavoidable disruption”. The campaign will highlight that alternative parking is available, routes are signposted when diversions are required and pedestrian access is available to all shops and businesses.

A number of other initiatives designed to attract shoppers and visitors to the town centre will take place in the coming months, including Larne Loves Food (this weekend), the ‘Win the Window’ Christmas competition and Small Business Saturday.

Ald Gregg McKeen told the Times: “We must support town centre businesses throughout this improvement project. Some inconvenience and disruption is unavoidable with schemes such as this, but it is important to remember that in the long-term, we will all benefit from a more modern and sustainable town centre.”