Students give ‘fresh thinking’ to planning Carrick

The visiting party of students from Queen's University Belfast.
The visiting party of students from Queen's University Belfast.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough has welcomed an academic ‘outreach’ initiative by the council’s Planning and Regeneration sections.

A party of second year students from Queen’s University Belfast’s (QUB) Environmental Planning, School of Natural and Built Environment

visited the borough as part of the project.

Their visit included presentations in the Dobbs Room, at Carrickfergus Civic Centre, a tour of St Nicholas church, a town centre tour and related discussions including the importance of the town’s historic walls and a visit to Carrick Castle as well as a tour of the harbour.

Commenting on the project, the mayor Councillor Audrey Wales said: “This is a positive development which provided a very good example of sections of the council both working together and also reaching out to the wider community – in this instance, the academic sector.”

Professor Aileen Stockdale, from QUB, said that students select a different town each year for their second year project.

“This year, they chose Carrickfergus with the aim being to prepare a local plan for the town with the subsequent interaction between academia and council being both recognised and very much appreciated by QUB.”

Cllr Wales continued: “Carrickfergus was an excellent choice as there are a number of real challenges as well as opportunities that need to be addressed by the council’s Local Development Plan.

“The QUB study will be potentially very useful in providing some fresh thinking on these matters.

“It is also heartening that after discussions with the students around both the Local Development Plan and the Heritage Lottery-funded Carrickfergus Townscape Heritage Initiative that senior representatives from council staff – including the plan team - were then invited to QUB for the subsequent student presentations in April.”