A 14-week project to remove “eyesore” buildings was expected to get under way in Ballymoney town centre this week.
Specialists were due on site on Monday to begin preparatory work ahead of the demolition of over a dozen buildings, including the old cinema. The majority of the premises are in Linenhall Street with a number in Charles Street also.
Ian Frizzell, owner of Frizzell Safety Services, is part of the team put together for the demolition element, which will be carried out by McCormick Contracts, Ballycastle.
He told the Ballymoney Times: “The work will be for 14 weeks and will invlolve complete removal of old buildings and erecting timber hoarding for future development, which is in the early stages of planning.”
The present owner purchased the properties at the end of last year and it is understood the site is earmarked for mainly residential development.
The area has attracted negative attention in recent times due to derelict buildings and vacant premises.
DUP Alderman John Finlay said: “The centre of Ballymoney has for far too long been blighted by derelict buildings which are not only an eyesore but also damaging to the town’s retail economy.
“I therefore warmly welcome the news that many of the derelict buildings in Linenhall Street – which is one of most dilapidated parts of the town centre – will soon be demolished by a private developer.
“Linenhall Street was once on the busiest and most prosperous part of the town, but for many years now it has been allowed to go to ruin, and I look forward, not only to the demolition of the old buildings but to the erection of new buildings.
“I have been encouraged to learn that one old building is to be renovated and will become an architect’s office employing a number of people.
“I hope that this work in Linenhall Street will help to kick-start a wider and much needed regeneration of Ballymoney town centre.
“We need to do all in our power to attract much needed investment if we are to compete with our two larger neighbours, Coleraine and Ballymena.”
I hope that Linenhall Street will lead the way.”
In September of last year, the Department of Communities announced a £200,000 investment to help revitalise Ballymoney’s retail offering. The scheme, which also attracted £20,000 Causeway Coast and Glens Council funding, takes Church Street, High Street, Victoria Street, Charles Street and Linenhall Street.
The aim is to support existing traders in the development of their business, promote the area as a destination for shoppers and improve the attractiveness of the shop frontages.