£1.7m scheme for restoration in Carrickfergus town centre

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A £1.7m programme aimed at regenerating both commercial and historic properties in Carrickfergus is to be launched next month.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council received funding for the Carrickfergus Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year.

The cash boost will go towards a five year programme of activity including restoration of targeted town centre properties.

In a report presented to the MEA Economic Growth and Tourism Committee on Monday night, members heard that 25 historic towns in Northern Ireland, including Carrickfergus, have benefited from THI scheme awards over the past two decades.

“It is well proven that completed schemes have successfully supported wider urban regeneration while maintaining the historic fabric,” the report added.

“Council has committed to providing match-funding of £550,000 over the five-year delivery period and in-kind support to manage the project working with a range of partners and funders.”

It is anticipated the scheme will be launched in mid to late October in Carrickfergus Town Hall, with the first grant awards likely to occur in Spring 2017 after a period of assessment.

One of the buildings eligible for THI support is the former warrant officer’s house and gaol cells at the Civic Centre complex. “It is hoped to refurbish these buildings and potentially use for a mixture of interpretative and office space,” the report added.