Empty premisesbeing treated to a make-over

Drab, disused business premises will soon be a vision of the past on Ballymena’s streets as the borough Council spends £160,000 of DoE dereliction funds giving them a make-over.

It's curtains for this vacant property at Alexander Street! Thanks to Dereliction Fund cash which Ballymena Borough Council has been awarded by the DoE to give derelict premises andn gap sites a bright new look.

The Department allocated the funds to complete cosmetic work to improve the overall appearance of empty buildings in a bid to improve the ambience of town centres.

Last summer, the Council was one of 15 local authorities to share in the £1.5m kitty from the Department to tackle dereliction and the work, which recently got underway on the ground, was scheduled to be completed in Ballymena yesterday (Monday).

Council’s indepth submission to the Fund was for a series of commercial properties and gap sites throughout the town centre and some villages where permissions have been gained by owners to permit the work on their premises.

This has included treating and painting buildings, inserting vinyl images into window inserts and, where possible, on to shutters.

A Council spokesperson said: “Council will hope to have some 27 properties completed around the borough in an attempt to maximise the number of buildings completed.

“It is envisaged that Council will apply to the DOE again should another round of funding become available.”

Announcing the funding last year, Environment Minister Alex Attwood said they would be used to enhance the environment but would, in turn, boost tourism and local trade.

He said the dereliction funding scheme was going from strength to strength.

“This is a project of increasing significance,” he said.

“Tourists will be put off by eyesores. If we deal with dereliction, vacant properties and abandoned building sites, we create the opportunity to attract local investment and tourists.

“This investment is also for the people of the area. They will have the character of their built environment improved,” he said.