Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member, has asked the SDLP Environment Minister that Moyle Council will be given the same support as neighbouring Coleraine to combat dereliction in the area.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Chief Whip, was speaking after receiving a written reply from Minister Alex Attwood on the issue.
Mr Swann said: “I asked Minister Attwood when he intends to extend, to Moyle Council, the same support given to Coleraine Borough Council to tackle dereliction in the area, given its tourist attractions, such as the Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills Distillery.
“In his response to me, Minister Attwood said the support to Coleraine Council was provided against the backdrop of greatly increased media and tourist interest which the hosting of the Irish Open golf championship will bring to the Portrush and Portstewart area.
“That backdrop also included the cross-departmental work that had been carried out in partnership with the Council in identifying the area’s worst examples of dereliction and dilapidation and the need to improve amenity experience for general tourist business and those who live locally.
“The Minister told me he recognised the potential to extend the principle of the Portrush and Portstewart intervention to other districts suffering similar problems.
“However, he said clearly such projects can only be tackled if the necessary funding is available.
“The Minister assured me if monies become available, it would be through in-year monitoring and/or end of year unspent monies.
“The Minister also needs to ensure this funding is earmarked so that the Moyle region can be made a dereliction-free zone in preparation for all the great tourist developments which will shortly come on stream, especially relating to the Giant’s Causeway and ensures that Bushmills be afforded the same treatment as neighbouring towns,” said Assemblyman Swann.