Additional powers sought for Antrim and Newtownabbey town regeneration
Antrim and Newtownabbey council is seeking additional powers from Stormont to regenerate towns and villages in the borough as part of its ‘Back In Business’ campaign.
A motion proposed by Dunsilly Allliance Councillor Glenn Finlay and seconded by Threemilewater DUP Councillor Stephen Ross and Antrim SDLP Councillor Roisin Lynch has called on the council to write to the Executive Office and the Department for Communities to “request the transfer of full regeneration powers and associated resources to local authorities as a matter of urgency”.
Speaking at a meeting of the local authority earlier this week, Cllr Finlay said: “It is vital that we as a council have appropriate finance to support regeneration. This means that we are best placed to deliver any service that means lasting and meaningful renewal.”
He pointed out that local authorities had been told that they would be given control of regeneration powers when they were amalgamated in 2015.
“Our councils need carte blanche for growth and prosperity. This need has never been greater,” he stated.
Cllr Ross added: “It would allow council to deliver a better service and make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Cllr Lynch stated: “Regeneration and town centre recovery is ongoing. What has been missing is a large envelope of money with full regeneration powers .”
She stressed that councils need these funds to “deliver on the ground”.
The local authority is currently developing a series of “masterplans” for each town in the borough.
The council is also seeking funding from the UK Government’s ‘Levelling Up Fund’ which is aimed at “levelling up of economic prosperity across all regions of the UK and to strengthen the union post Brexit”.
The UK Government has stated its intentions to work directly with local partners and communities in the allocation of the funds.
The council is to submit a funding bid for the regeneration of Glengormley and Antrim town centres.
This will involve the comprehensive redevelopment of the former Glengormley Police Station site to create 2,202 square metres of office and workspace and development and fit-out of 16,000 square foot office and workspace
at High Street in Antrim currently owned by the Karl group.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Jim Montgomery said: “It is vital that our towns and villages are supported in their recovery and regeneration.
“To ensure local priorities and needs are met, It is essential that decisions and resources are driven by those closest to these communities. In building back our local economy the time is right to take this action and councils are ready to step forward.”
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
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