Council has funding hope for derelict properties

COMMERCIAL eyesores in Ballymena town centre caused by derelict properties and gap sites could be turned around via ‘Dereliction Intervention Funding’, councillors have been delighted to hear.

Giving an update on the proposed government funding to last week’s monthly meeting of Council, Chief Executive Anne Donaghy, clarified that while there was currently no DoE budget available to fund such intervention, Minister Alex Atwood had requested that expressions of interest be submitted along with costings to allow him to bid for end of monetary round monies to provide the necessary funding.

Mrs Donaghy said: “If money is secured by the Minister I would be confident that we will have a fair chance of it.”

Sign up to our daily NorthernIrelandWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Councillors were presented with an illustrated portfolio of 28 town centre premises which could benefit from intervention funds of around £400k.

These included vacant properties such as the old cinema site on Ballymoney Road and the corner site at the junction of Wellington Street/Lower Mill Street, also gap sites at Church Street, Bryan Street, High Street, and Springwell Street, and sites such as Alexander Street and the Waveney Road embankment.

Mrs Donaghy told councillors that, should funds be obtained by the Minister these would be available to spend during February and March.

Due to the tight timing on the submission of expressions of interest in funding, Mrs Donaghy sought, and successfully gained from councillors, retrospective permission on council’s submission.

She added that a similar approach would be made by council to rural development monies and this news was welcomed by Bannside Councillor Roy Gillespie.

Cllr Audrey Wales said she was “delighted” to see the submission of proposals to address derelict sites in the town centre and extended her congratulations to everyone who had played a part in drawing them up.