Draft plan for Carnlough to be unveiled at public meeting

CARNLOUGH residents will have an opportunity see the final draft of a five-year plan for the village at a public meeting next week.

A sizeable turnout is expected at Glenlough Community Centre on Wednesday (June 15) at 7.30pm to review the document drawn up by VMS Consultants following consultations with residents, business owners, groups and agencies.

Before a final village plan is produced, the consultants want local people to have an opportunity to comment on the draft vision, aims and objectives contained in the draft.

Carnlough Community Association has urged all stakeholders to attend the meeting, emphasising: “Your views are important, so come along and tell us what you think.”

Following the meeting, a final plan will be put in place and used to lobby for funds for village renewal and development. A summary of the final plan will be made available to all residents and interested groups in early summer.

The community group has received financial support for the development of the village plan through the North East Rural Development Programme and Larne Borough Council. Supporting Communities NI has helped to manage and deliver the project to date.

The village plan will be an important factor in the campaign to save Carnlough library from closure, as proposed by Libraries NI who are to make a final decision in September.

Coast Road Sinn Fein councillor Oliver McMullan has also urged full attendance at Wednesday’s public meeting. He said: “It is very, very important that everybody in Carnlough sees what is in the plan and everybody’s opinion is important.”

The newly elected Larne councillor added: “There are some very good ideas in the draft, but I think there could be more to add, like, for example, the way that projects are delivered.

“The onus is on communities to source funding for projects like a new play park, but it is much more cost-effective for councils to take on these schemes themselves because they can claim back VAT and spread the cost over 10 years. This is a great opportunity for the council and the community to work together and I am sure the council will go out of their way to help the community.”

n Carnlough Community Association was represented at a tourism workshop in Portballintrae last week.

Caroline Carey, village renewal facilitator in the North Eastern regional area, who arranged the event for community group representatives, explained: “All villages represented were either at the planning or implementation stage of projects which are being funded through the Village Renewal Measure of the Rural Development Programme in the North East Region. This was an opportunity for us to bring tourism to the forefront of their minds.”

Among the speakers was William McCullough, a representative from Broughshane who assisted in bring a motor home service area to his village, which has attracted increasing numbers of visitors.