Works are set to begin at one of Antrim’s most historic sites to refurbish Steeple House to its former glory. A Grade B+ listed building, Steeple House sits within a 17 acre parkland site which also includes the Antrim Round Tower, a scheduled monument which served as a bell-tower and place of refuge from raiders and is one of only two complete towers remaining in Northern Ireland.
Once the location of a former medieval monastery, Steeple House was built in 1827 by the Fawcett family and later became the headquarters for Antrim Borough Council. A fire in July 2019 caused extensive damage to the listed building including the loss of its roof.
Vice-Chairman of the Council’s Planning Committee, Alderman Fraser Agnew MBE said: “I am delighted that the plans approved by the Committee this evening will secure this important part of our local heritage. The plans ensure that Steeple House will be restored to its pre-fire condition, respecting the character, architecture and historic interest of the building. The planning proposal also received support and was commended by the Historic Environment Division, the Department responsible for listed buildings in Northern Ireland.”
In addition to the refurbishment of Steeple House, there are plans by the Council for the wider park including new interpretive signage and pathways to promote greater access to the site, showcasing the Round Tower as a unique feature. Plans are also being developed by a third party to develop a section of the site as a healthcare facility.
Thinking of Applying for a Council Leisure Grant?
Good news for all sports enthusiasts in the Borough! Applications have reopened for the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Leisure Grant Aid Programme. Sports clubs, elite athletes, sports officials and governing bodies of sport are all invited to apply.
The programme aims to assist in the promotion and development of sport within the Borough. Financial assistance can be received for training and competition costs, running of local sporting events, coach education, and facility improvement if the set criteria is met. Individual athletes can claim up to £1500 and clubs can claim up to £20,000 depending on the requirements of the applicant.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb commented:
“As a Council we are proud to continually invest in our leisure and sporting sector and I am delighted that the Leisure Grant Scheme has significantly benefited numerous elite athletes and sports clubs since it began in 2015”
To apply for a leisure grant visit here.
Local Businesses receive Royal Award
Three businesses from across Antrim and Newtownabbey were invited to Mossley Mill to recognise their valuable contribution and efforts as recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
This prestigious award is designed to recognise and encourage outstanding achievements in the fields of Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).
Hosted by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell presented the impressive award to local businesses InspecVision, Environmental Street Furniture and Texthelp.
Environmental Street Furniture
Environmental Street Furniture was established in 2012. Based in Newtownabbey, the company designs and manufactures a range of innovative outdoor furniture which is solar powered to offer IOT reporting, mobile phone charging and LED lighting. It has recently also launched a range of perimeter security products to protect pedestrians and buildings from terror attacks.
The company had previously manufactured conventional outdoor furniture and had established a sales network across the world. It now sells in 26 markets worldwide and its top five markets are UAE, Hong Kong, Kazakstan, USA and Spain. Overseas sales have grown year on year over three years by a total growth of 415%; and the percentage exported has risen from 40.5% to 78%. The company wins the Queens Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over three years.
InspecVision Ltd develop, manufacture and sell 2D and 3D measurement systems for inspection of manufactured com- ponents. Their core market is the sheet metal industry with customers producing components for sectors including auto- motive, aerospace and defence. Based in Mallusk, Northern Ireland, and founded in 2003 by Dr Jan Antonis and his father Mike Antonis. They identified a gap in the market for lower cost, faster, easy to use inspection machines. Developed and launched the Planar 2D, the fastest measurement system for 2D parts.
The product range developed to include 3D inspection. InspecVision’s overseas sales accounts for 93% of it’s total sales and doubled recently with growth in key markets such as the United States, China and Europe. Their focus on the US market was a driver in this growth. R&D of new innovative products and development of strategic partnerships are at the heart of InspecVision’s growth strategy. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over three years.
Established in 1996, and based in Antrim, Texthelp Ltd is a software company that creates software tools to help people with Literacy and Understanding by making software for students and adults with dyslexia, and for people learning or working in a second language. It believes that everyone’s entitled to the best possible learning and language support on their own personal journey ‘from literacy to life. ‘
The company has offices in Antrim, Boston USA, and in Brisbane Australia. Over the past few years it has had 32 million users of its education software products. Its overseas sales have grown over the last six years by 215%; and the percentage exported has risen to 68%. The USA and Canada are its main markets and it has established new markets in the last six years in: Australia, UAE, Qatar, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Mexico. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Continuous Growth in overseas sales over the last six years.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said, “It is a pleasure to be here to celebrate the success of three of our local businesses, InspecVision, Environmental Street Furniture and Texthelp, Each of these businesses is thriving in the face of very challenging times and making a significant contribution to our local economy and community. It is a great achievement that 3 out of the 5 businesses in Northern Ireland to be recognised in the International Trade Category of the Awards are based in our Borough and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for receiving this prestigious honour.”