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Funding opportunity in Mid and East Antrim for vacant town centre commercial properties

by | Apr 6, 2022

The Town Centre Property revamp scheme is reopening for a limited period of time, with the opportunity to secure funding to assist capital development and repurposing works on vacant town centre commercial properties.

Applications to the Town Centre Property Repurposing Pilot Grant Scheme, managed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in collaboration with the Department for Communities (DfC), has re-opened with a final deadline for applications of Thursday 30 June 2022 at 4pm.

There has already been significant interest in the grant, which focuses on supporting businesses across the three main town centres of Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne. A number of projects have successfully progressed through the application process and secured funding of up to £30,000 per project.

The funding is through the DfC Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme, in addition to co-investment from Council.

Among those who have been successful in securing funding are Ballymena’s Lynn and Brewster, whose Director, Charles Lynn, explains: “The grant will help regenerate our property on Church Street, ultimately allowing us to relocate the firm into the main retail area of Ballymena’s town centre.

“We are confident this investment will help drive further businesses to the area, helping increase footfall in the town.”

Mike McNeill, Director of Scrabo Properties, is also encouraging other businesses to apply, after successfully securing the grant to convert the vacant first floor of a building in Carrickfergus. He said: “Our proposed project will create apartments at 3D Market Place in the centre of town, allowing us to complete the wider investment of the Townscape Heritage Initiative-funded site.

“I would strongly encourage anyone interested to apply and avail of the scheme.”

In order to apply to the Town Centre Property Repurposing Pilot Grant Scheme, total costs must be in excess of £10,000, with applicants contributing at least 50% match funding towards the project.

Whilst there is no maximum total project cost, the scheme will provide funding up to a maximum of £30,000 per project.

A Council spokesperson said: “Council’s vision is to focus on regeneration initiatives such as this, to help boost footfall in our town centres.

“I would urge the owners or leaseholders of vacant properties within town centre boundaries to check their eligibility for this scheme and to apply as soon as possible as the applications will be assessed on a monthly rolling basis. Once the funding is allocated there will be a reserve list of applications if there is a shortfall in spending.”

For further information on the scheme, contact Stephen Catherwood, Investment & Place Officer, via: invest@midandeastantrim.gov.uk.

Guidance notes and application forms are available via the online grant portal: https://mea.eformz.info

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