The vice-chair of Larne Traders’ Forum has called for more support for small, independent businesses after recent blows to the town’s trade.
In the past fortnight, the Curran Court Hotel and The Bodega Bar have gone into administration.
The Blue Door Cafe at Riverdale and Sew Good in Dunluce Street have also closed.
The Curran Court is currently in a two-week assesment period, during which administrators will determine the viability of the business.
Vice-chair of Larne Traders’ Forum, Mark Dobbin, told the Times that he was “concerned as a trader” over the impact on the town.
“With the tourist economy at the minute being very big, Larne doesn’t need its only hotel going into administration,” he stated.
“We have guest houses, but the Curran Court is its last hotel. For a town to have such a major port and to face potentially losing its hotel, despite tourism generated by the Gobbins, the Antrim Coast Road and Game of Thrones, is a problem.”
Mr Dobbin called for more support for smaller independent businesses, especially on the town’s peripheral streets.
“We are coming out of the public realm scheme and Main Street is looking very good, but it has been hard for the past few months due to the work going on,” he continued.
“The council should be concentrating more on its peripheral areas which are already run down. I don’t want to send out a negative message: Larne Traders’ Fourm has been working hard to keep things happening in the town, as have council officers.”
Chair of Larne Traders’ Forum, Allan Dorman, said he was “not overly concerned at the state of business in the town”.
“There is a positive atmosphere in the town, and we can but hope that there will be an upturn,” he stated.
A council spoksperson said that the town’s vacancy rate of 18 per cent was “unchanged from the previous quarter” and that there had been a “net gain in the number of businesses operating in the town centre over the past six months”. He added that council could offer further support through business development workshops, seminars and retail support programmes.