What makes Carrickfergus stand out as provincial town? What are the challenges facing it and how can it be improved?
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council recently tasked a delegation of experts with experience in architecture and urban design, heritage and tourism and in transportation to undertake a ‘diagnostic visit’ to Carrickfergus and report back on their findings.
The visit was undertaken by the Academy of Urbanism (AoU), an independent, not-for-profit, UK-based organisation that brings together both the current and next generation of urban leaders, thinkers and practitioners.
Colleagues from the Northern Ireland Ministerial Advisory Group on Architecture and Built Environment and the Paul Hogarth Company and Creative Tourist consultants also joined the AoU delegation.
The Mayor, Councillor Paul Reid, said: “Dickon Robinson, who led the visit, said he had seldom seen a place where there are so many opportunities framed by the town’s coastal setting, medieval castle and maritime heritage, low land values and significantly, its close proximity to the capital city. The experts also highlighted some areas that could be further improved.
“The delegation had an opportunity to meet with elected members and senior managers from council as well as from the Department for Communities, Department for Infrastructure and Tourism NI and other key central government partners.
“We can undoubtedly learn from towns elsewhere in the UK that have reinvented themselves as attractive seaside resorts.”
The Carrickfergus diagnostics report produced by the Academy will be available to read at their website in several weeks time (https://www.academyofurbanism.org.uk/).