Carrickfergus regeneration and Gobbins extension feature in £60m City Deal boost

Mid and East Antrim is to benefit from more than £60m of investment following the signing of Northern Ireland’s first City Deal.

The Mayor, Councillor William McCaughey, headed a delegation from the borough in attendance along with government ministers for the signing at the ICC Belfast.

The Belfast Region City Deal unlocks £1bn of transformative co-investment which will deliver more than 20 highly ambitious projects and programmes, create up to 20,000 new and better jobs and help make the region a global investment destination over the next decade.

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Mid and East Antrim has three major projects under the programme:

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey.

The regeneration of Carrickfergus, which will reposition and rebrand the town, placing it firmly on the map as an authentic tourism hub, part of the wider Belfast Story and the ‘must-visit’ starting point to the internationally recognised Causeway Coastal Route;

At The Gobbins, a project to install an ingress structure linking the cliff top path with the coastal path to develop a looped walk, will be delivered. The cliff top path will include a range of exciting features and viewing points to provide a much-enhanced visitor experience, and a new welcome hub will include augmented reality;

Finally, an i4C Innovation & Cleantech Centre will be constructed in Ballymena. The proposed 8,000sqm centre will be based at the St Patrick’s Barracks regeneration site in the town.

Councillor McCaughey, said: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is delighted to have secured more than £60m of investment through our partnership with Belfast Region City Deal.

“The opportunities and potential of City Deal are huge for Mid and East Antrim and the entire wider Belfast region, and the financial boost it will provide is more important than ever as we move to level out our economy post-Covid.

“Our area has a proud and long-standing reputation as ‘the engine room’ of the Northern Ireland economy, and a rich heritage in manufacturing, industry, power generation and agri-food, as well as the strategic port of Larne.

“Collaboration is vital to realising our potential and council is working with key stakeholders from industry, education and government to proactively make the changes necessary and achieve growth in sectors such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, greentech/cleantech, financial and business services, agri-tech and tourism.

“City Deal will provide immediate benefits to Mid and East Antrim, but we also see it as a catalyst/lever to wider economic growth and investment.

“Our involvement is testament to the ambition, vision and potential of Mid and East Antrim, and a ringing endorsement of our future prosperity plans.

“We want our businesses and citizens to help us deliver our vision for City Deal, which will transform Mid and East Antrim and cement its standing as the ideal place to live, work, invest and visit.

“We will be working closely with our partners in the months and years ahead to deliver this funding in a way that boosts our Borough for everyone.”

Heads of Terms for the Belfast Region City Deal were signed on 26 March 2019, committing the UK Government to investing £350m. This has been matched by the Northern Ireland Executive. And with £150m from partners and private sector investment, it is anticipated that the total investment package will exceed £1bn.

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