Extending The Gobbins cliff path and regenerating Carrickfergus town centre are among ‘game changing’ projects for Mid and East Antrim as part of 1bn Belfast Region City Deal plans.
Deal partners have submitted their ambitious negotiating position to Westminster.
The substantial economic opportunity includes tens of millions of pounds of proposed investment in Mid and East Antrim and would also see an inspiration hub at the St Patrick’s site in Ballymena.
The deal sets out a vision to create 20,000 new jobs across the region’s growth sectors. It will also improve infrastructure, digital connectivity, visitor attractions and innovation hubs; and deliver a major skills and employability programme.
MEA Council, alongside the other local authority partners, has been working in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Treasury as well as universities and further education colleges to agree the priority projects for submission.
The Mayor, Councillor Lindsay Millar, said: “These potentially game-changing projects would greatly enhance Mid and East Antrim as an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest in. By working together, we can deliver more jobs, visitors and economic growth for our local people.”
Alderman Gregg McKeen, chair of council’s Economic Growth and Tourism Committee, said: “We have committed to creating a vibrant business culture and we are proactively seeking to build on our strengths in advanced manufacturing and agri-food, while supporting the growth of new industry sectors, including digital, tourism, financial and business services. I’m delighted we are at the stage where our projects are submitted and the negotiations can begin.”
The partners anticipate an announcement in the Autumn Budget statement which would give them the green light to work up the proposals further.