Cunningham welcomes regeneration efforts

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SDLP Ballycastle councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the efforts aimed at boosting the flagging vitality of the towns and villages of Moyle and has called for greater community involvement in regeneration measures.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with representatives from the Departments of Social Development (Urban regeneration) and DOE Planners, he said: “We need to return Ballycastle town centre to a position where it plays a key role in the economic and social fabric of the community acting as both a centre of employment and services as well as a focus for civic activity.

“We need to support our local businesses through these challenging economic times and to address the issue of empty shops and units.

“Local government and departments cannot act alone, we need to involve and support community and business leaders to regenerate and grow the town. We need a strong community focus, working on making the town more vibrant, and develop and improving the aesthetics of the town.

“Ballycastle has a huge amount to offer, visitors are impresses by our beautiful streetscape, unfortunately the economic climate has particularly hit our retail trade and many shops are now unoccupied. It is important that we work to strengthen our competitiveness and develop connected, cohesive and engaged communities - communities that can identify their own needs and work with government and others in meeting those needs.”