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Secretary of State Brandon Lewis visits Antrim’s £1.2M Levelling Up Project


Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis pictured with Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb JP MBE who presented a picture of the award winning Antrim Castle Gardens during their visit to view the Northern Ireland Centenary Exhibition.

Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis visited Antrim today following last week’s announcement of £1.2 million towards the Levelling Up project in the town centre and riverfront.


The Antrim Integrated Physical and Economic Regeneration Project will include the redevelopment of the former Wellworths building, now owned by the Karl Group, in the town centre into 16,000sq foot of office and workspace.



It will also include the opening up of the back of the building onto the boardwalk providing a Riverfront Regeneration opportunity.


In addition, the boardwalk that runs along the river at the back of the building, will be extended by another 166m, improving access to the High Street and linking to the town’s unique Antrim Castle Gardens and providing a longer cycling and walking route.


Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis pictured with the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb JP MBE during their visit to the award winning Antrim Castle Gardens.


As part of the visit the Secretary of State was given a tour of the award-winning Antrim Castle Gardens taking in some of the strands of the Council’s Centenary of Northern Ireland programme, Our Country’s Centenary for Our Community… Reflecting Back, Striving Forward, which included the Centenary Scripts Centenary Collections and Reflections of a Centenary exhibition.


Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council was awarded £94,600 through the Shared History Fund which The National Lottery Heritage Fund distributed on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office, to mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland in a thoughtful, inclusive and engaging way.


Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis pictured with Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough, Councillor Billy Webb JP MBE, Deputy Mayor, Councillor Stephen Ross and MP, Paul Girvan.



Welcoming the Secretary of State today, the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb, said:


“I welcome today’s visit from the Secretary of State, it’s important to see first-hand the plans which the Council has to regenerate Antrim town centre.


“Through the regeneration of the Riverfront as well as the development of a major building in the town, this project will drive footfall back into the town centre. It will also provide a vital boost to the local economy, not only attracting investment and creating jobs but also continuing to support the recovery of our local businesses.”



Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said:


"The UK Government is supporting local councils to drive long-term economic growth and revitalise town centres.


“I'm very pleased that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council will receive £1.2m from the Levelling Up Fund to revitalise Antrim town centre.


“I was delighted to see first-hand their plans to develop a new innovative workspace and upgrade the riverfront and boardwalk. Such investment is at the core of our Levelling Up agenda, ensuring a more prosperous community for all."


Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis pictured with Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb JP MBE, Majella McAlister, Director of Economic Development and Planning, Richard Murray, Head of Finance and Councillor Neill Kelly.

The Antrim project is one of two projects in the Borough which have been awarded a total of £5.1m. The schemes are part of an overall investment of £49 million secured for Northern Ireland under the first round of the fund.


The Glengormley Integrated Physical and Economic Regeneration Project will receive £3.9m for the development of the former police station site (following planned demolition in November 2021), shop front facades along the buildings from Creative Tiles to the Movie House, along with remodelling of the car park and larger public realm scheme.



The overall scheme represents an investment in excess of £17.4million over it is 30-year project life.


Both schemes are also designed to improve connectivity, making it easier to access the town centres and providing an attractive, welcoming environment that will encourage people to stay longer and visit more often.


The Council is also committed to bringing forward future bids for the other town centres in the Borough and has secured £125,000 of technical assistance funding from the Treasury to support the preparation of these schemes.