What makes Carrickfergus stand out as provincial town? What are the issues and challenges facing Carrickfergus and how can the town be improved?
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council recently tasked a delegation of experts with experience in architecture and urban design, heritage and tourism and in transportation to undertake a ‘diagnostic visit’ to Carrickfergus and report back on their findings.
The visit was undertaken by the Academy of Urbanism (AoU), an independent, not-for-profit, UK based organisation that brings together both the current and next generation of urban leaders, thinkers and practitioners. Colleagues from the Northern Ireland Ministerial Advisory Group on Architecture and Built Environment and the Paul Hogarth Company and Creative Tourist consultants also joined the AoU delegation.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, said: “Dickon Robinson, who led the visit, said he had seldom seen a place where there are so many opportunities framed by the town’s coastal setting, medieval castle and maritime heritage, low land values and significantly, its close proximity to the capital city. The experts also highlighted some areas that could be further improved. The delegation had an opportunity to meet with elected members and senior managers from Council as well as from the Department for Communities, Department for Infrastructure and Tourism NI and other key central government partners.”
Council CEO Anne Donaghy said she was pleased to have national experts looking at the current physical state and everyday operation of Carrickfergus, with council and its partners committed to regeneration throughout the borough.
Learn and Grow
The Mayor added: “We can undoubtedly learn from towns elsewhere in the UK that have reinvented themselves as attractive seaside resorts. We believe we can develop a range of schemes and investments in Carrickfergus that can benefit traders and residents alike and make it a destination of choice for visitors given its heritage and maritime offerings. As the gateway to the world famous Causeway Coastal Route, Carrickfergus has incredible potential. Over the next several months, we will be taking stock of regeneration efforts in other towns in developing our own concepts for Carrickfergus. We will then take these concepts for wider public consultation before any formal statutory-type consultation on future schemes takes place.”
The Carrickfergus diagnostics report produced by the Academy of Urbanism will be available to read at their website in several weeks’ time.