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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

MEA Council acknowledges concern over “persistent dereliction issue” in Larne

Larne roundabout

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has acknowledged a “persistent dereliction issue” within Larne town centre during the past four years. The council was responding to a question by a resident during its first public question and answer session.

In reply to the query published online regarding “abandoned and derelict buildings in the town centre”, the local authority stated:

“Council would accept that there has been a persistent dereliction issue within Larne Town Centre over the last four years.”

It was also indicated councillors have now approved the development of a dereliction intervention strategy and will consult with Larne residents to draw up a “masterplan” for Main Street, Dunluce Street and Point Street/Lower Cross Street.

It was noted a shop front improvement grant scheme for Mid and East Antrim to “revitalise” town centres, including Larne, has resulted in 107 applications across the borough for grants of up to £4,999 for  improvements ranging from new signage to replacement windows and doors, repainting, and other minor repair work with £275,000 in grant assistance awarded to businesses between December 2023 and February.

According to an audit carried out by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council last year, a quarter of properties in Larne town centre are vacant,

Of these, 12 buildings are either vacant or derelict and deemed unfit for occupancy with Dunluce Street and Point Street the worst affected. There has been an increase in vacancy and dereliction from 22 per cent in 2020 to 26 per cent in 2023.

The former Dunnes outlet at Main Street, which is on the market for £1m, remains vacant.

Also at last week’s session, another resident asked if the proceeds of any sale of council property in Larne be “put back into Larne town”.

The council replied: “In terms of ring-fencing money from one area to be spent in that area, this matter has not been discussed or agreed by council.”

Smiley Buildings, at Victoria Road in Larne, its key administration premises in the town, is on the market for £350,000.


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