31/01/2008

Minister Announces Carrickfergus Masterplan

Carrickfergus is set to get a major fillip with news of a 'Masterplan' scheme that will examine all the issues facing Carrickfergus into the future.

During a visit to the town, the Northern Ireland Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie announced the initiative, which she said will recognise the many unique existing attributes including the castle, maritime and seafront areas.

Minister Ritchie, said: “What needs to be done now is to ensure that we build upon the strengths and seek to capitalise on the opportunities.

"Carrickfergus attracts large numbers of visitors but it needs to ensure that those visitors are drawn to see much more of what the town can offer.

"A Masterplan will enable us to look at all the issues and weigh them up in an independent manner.

"Only taking a holistic view of the wider town centre can we plan for the regeneration of the town over the next 10 years and beyond," she said.

The appointment of specialist consultants will begin the exercise which will include consulting key stakeholders in order to agree the issues and objectives. Carrickfergus has already benefited from the Department for Social Development’s (DSD) involvement in the past.

Projects have included the Maritime Area Comprehensive Development Scheme, in which DSD facilitated the scheme by making it viable and attractive to the private sector.

DSD and the local council have also co-funded environmental improvement schemes including the recently completed work beside the castle installing new paving, lighting and seating.

Work on a new £400,000 scheme on the marina side of the castle is due to commence soon with the Department contributing funding of over £300,000.

Minister Ritchie also called in at the Jubilee Hall in Greenisland to congratulate some local community groups on work done to refurbish the hall and some other community support measures.

These projects benefited from funding from a Neighbourhood Renewal scheme managed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

(JM)(BMcC)


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