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Ballymena Investment Development

 

Updated : Apr 23, 2009

A masterplan for a redevelopment of Ballymena town centre which could cost up to £200m (€226m) to implement was published today.

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie launched the blueprint during a visit to the Co Antrim town and said it would be used as a guide to future regeneration proposals.

The plan lists 41 initiatives which will help direct the town’s regeneration over the next 10-15 years.

They range from the identification of key development sites, improved public realm, measures to positively influence perceptions of the area’s safety through to improved sustainable transport.

The plan seeks to capitalise on Ballymena’s role as a regional hub and exploit its strategic position.

It found the town’s strong and varied retail sector required a number of measures to ensure it remained a leading shopping destination through an era of increased competition and economic challenges.

The most costly proposal is a £68m (€77m) riverfront redevelopment, while other initiatives would cost only tens of thousands to implement.

Ms Ritchie said: “Ballymena has been a very successful town in recent years. However no town centre can afford to be complacent in the current tough economic conditions.

“That is why it is important that each town centre has a clear vision of how it wants to develop and sound plans for how we are going to achieve that vision.”

The masterplan was funded by the DSD and the minister said “It sets out a clear aim for the town’s future which builds on its existing strengths and the opportunities and potential growth for the future.

“It also identifies the initiatives to be taken forward to achieve these aims.”

She said it was important her department now worked with all stakeholders to prioritise the initiatives to ensure they were moved forward.

“The regeneration of Ballymena is vital to the local people, and I will strive to ensure that all works reflect the aspirations of everyone involved,” said Ms Ritchie.

The Major of Ballymena, Councillor Maurice Mills said the council welcomed the publication of the masterplan.

He said: “We appreciate that we are in difficult economic times. However Ballymena Borough Council is committed to doing all we can to minimise the impact in our town by planning for the future.

“The masterplan will go some way in achieving that, making our town ready for the challenges ahead.”

 

 

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