One of Ballymoney’s most recognisable buildings is currently undergoing a major refurbishment.
Currie’s in The Diamond has lain empty for a decade but owners, the Shiels family who currently run a busy jewellers in Victoria Street, have committed to a substantial development which will accommodate their business when work is completed later this year.
The two-storey prominent corner art-deco property with decorative urns at roof level and a decorative frieze detail within each of the high level bay windows, dates back to around 1898.
It was built as a purpose built haberdashers later occupied by the Currie family. The last owners were the family fashion business operated for many years by Bryce and Irene Currie and the building is affectionately known locally as “Curries Corner”.
When completed, the town centre will be greatly enhanced by the investment. The investment has been praised by local public representatives.
Funding has been secured for the redevelopment under the Ballymoney Regeneration Company (HLF) Townscape Heritage Initiative Heritage and the Department for Social Development (DSD), enabling the building to be brought back into commercial use, whilst retaining its historic character and reinstating many architectural features.
The building is being developed by Roy Shiels whose wife Anne runs Shiels her Victoria Street shop. Anne plans to move her business to the new town centre premises and to be open for Christmas this year. Local contractor John S Dunlop was successful in winning the tender for the job and went on site this month.
This is the first HLF funded townscape heritage project, promoted by Ballymoney Regeneration Company, to go on site in the town centre.
Ballymoney THI is focused primarily on the heritage-led regeneration of three key commercial areas of the town, Main Street, High Street and Victoria Street. Priority is given to bringing back into sustainable use, redundant or underused historic buildings, to conserve and enhance the historic townscape character of the town centre and to breathe new life into the area.
In 2012 Ballymoney Regeneration Company, supported by BBC secured a grant of £1.29 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), for the Ballymoney Townscape Heritage Initiative, a £2.5million heritage-led scheme to regenerate the historic townscape of Ballymoney.
Ballymoney THI will focus primarily on regenerating three key commercial areas of the town, Main Street, High Street and Victoria Street. Priority will be given to bringing back into sustainable use, redundant or underused historic buildings, to conserve and enhance the historic townscape character of the town centre and to breathe new life into the area.
The scheme will draw in additional match funding from other organisations and stimulate private investment. Owners of THI eligible properties are now invited to participate in the scheme and to submit THI grant applications to the regeneration company. The scheme will run for five years and concludein2017.
The funding was awarded through HLF’s Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) programme, which supports the regeneration of Conservation Areas that have suffered from serious social and economic decline.
THI fosters effective partnerships between local organisations enabling repairs and other essential works in historic but often run-down areas bringing high streets back to life. The funding, integral to wider conservation and regeneration strategies, will also help stimulate employment opportunities, volunteer training and heritage days to help actively involve local residents in the project. To date, HLF has invested over £200m regenerating towns that have suffered serious social and economic decline.