ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Council has confirmed that it is bidding for funds to boost economic growth in its town centres.
The Borough has the potential to benefit from a series of investment funds as part of the UK Government’s commitment to the ‘levelling up’ of economic prosperity across the region.
With more than £144 million allocated to Northern Ireland over a four-year period, this funding will support local economic growth through investment in infrastructure, town centre regeneration, employment, skills and community assets.
Initially, plans are underway to submit bids for the regeneration of Antrim and Glengormley town centres as part of the first phase of the Levelling Up Fund.
The Antrim application will include the development and fit out of 16,000 square foot office and workspace on the High Street along with the refurbishment and extension of the Boardwalk to provide a high quality, attractive link from Antrim Castle Gardens to the town centre.
Over in Glengormley, the funding could see the demolition and redevelopment of the former Police Station to create office space and work space and associated car parking as well as improvements to the frontage of the site.
The Glengormley scheme will also include shop front improvements and resurfacing works in the Glenwell Road area.
Proposals are also being considered for Ballyclare, Randalstown and Crumlin in readiness for Phase 2 of the Levelling-Up fund in the autumn.
The Council is also currently working with other Councils to identify suitable bids that will seek to support people into employment as well as provide opportunities and pathways for young people to get into work.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery said the money could be a ‘game changer’.
“This significant funding opportunity from the UK Government is welcome news and if we are successful, it will make our retail spaces more attractive and encourage people to support town centre businesses,” he said.
“We also recognise the importance of ensuring people can access the skills required to progress into employment or to re-skill and we hope this funding will provide opportunities and support for our residents.”