Larne Borough: a great place to live, learn, work and invest

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The Borough of Larne lies on the east coast of Northern Ireland between the Glens of Antrim and the Antrim plateau.  Two thirds of the Borough has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with an area at Islandmagee recently designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest.  The Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast to the North Antrim Coast passes through the Town and Borough and the world renowned Antrim Coast Road starts in Larne, running along 36 miles of spectacular scenic limestone and basalt coastline.

These are exciting times in the Borough with many new projects underway.  The Council is working in partnership with the local community to deliver the Glenarm Masterplan.  The Gobbins Cliff Path project in Islandmagee will open up a major new tourist attraction of benefit not only to the Borough of Larne but to Northern Ireland, on an international level; such is the scale of this venture.  The newly restored Town Hall has just opened its doors to the public once more, having undergone an upgrade costing in excess of £3 million.  The ratepayers of Larne funded this project with a welcome contribution of £250,000 from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.  Larne offers opportunities for all: visitors, investors and residents, as we move forward with these and many other dynamic initiatives. 

larne-2Economic Development Strategy 2011-2015


Larne Development Forum is the economic development partnership established by Larne Borough Council which regularly considers the wider economic perspective and how Larne is performing in comparison with other areas. 

While recognising the current challenges facing the local economy, the Forum is optimistic that much can be achieved to help sustain and grow the Borough’s economy by 2015.  A number of themes and projects have been agreed as priorities for the Economic Development Strategy 2011-2015.

Economic Growth and Jobs will be promoted through the establishment of a local knowledge business incubator and innovation support programme. 
International Linkages will be developed through international trade missions and export opportunities. 

Retail Development will be supported through business seminars and retail specific projects in association with the Town Development Manager. 

Business Networking will be supported through a series of seminars and events providing networking opportunities and information on business topics.

Reducing Unemployment will be achieved through special programmes targeted at areas of high unemployment within the Borough as well as special programmes to tackle youth unemployment. 

Rural Development will be promoted through the production of village plans and development of projects, along with mentoring for businesses applying for RDP funding. 

Joint Collaboration Projects for local businesses will be progressed with other Councils in the North East region. 

Marketing and Image of Larne will continue to occupy a central place in the economic development of the Borough and will be promoted through marketing publications and events.

Larne Development Forum’s lobbying role will continue to play a vital part in strategic economic development work through to 2015 along with delivery of these themes and projects.

Larne-3Youth Employment Opportunities

Larne Borough Council is supporting a range of initiatives aimed at reducing the number of unemployed people under the age of 25.  A Youth Opportunities Programme featuring Youth Opportunities Fairs amongst other schemes has been established in the Borough, implemented through Larne Development Forum.

The first Youth Opportunities Fair was held in Larne’s Northern Regional College during June 2012 where young people were assisted with CV-writing; advised of job and training vacancies and given interview tips and techniques.  Many local employers were involved in facilitating this successful event and a subsequent survey revealed that 85 per cent of the young people reported an improvement in their employment/training prospects as a result of attending the Youth Opportunity Fair, with all respondents saying the event had either been useful or very useful.  A further Jobs Fair is planned for November 2012 and schools have been engaged in relation to these fairs, to include a Careers dimension.

The Youth Exploring Enterprise Programme commenced on 30 August 2012, aimed at 17-25 year olds.  This programme, part-funded by the Department for Employment and Learning along with Larne Borough Council, seeks to provide motivation, confidence building and mentoring support to those who are economically inactive and to give them the opportunity to gain enterprise-related qualifications.

In association with the Youth Exploring Enterprise Programme, Larne’s ‘Apprentice’  Competition was launched in June this year, open to anyone under 30 years of age.  Assisted by Jim Eastwood of BBC ‘The Apprentice’ fame, this scheme helps to encourage young people to find employment or self-employment during 2012, with support to include mentoring and coaching, facilitated by an expert panel.  The final will take place in October 2012.

larne-4Larne Town Centre

Following the publication of the Larne Town Centre Masterplan in June 2010, the Town Centre was identified by the Department for Social Development as one of a number of pilot programmes outside Belfast to benefit from the ReStore programme.  The works and projects included in the £150,000 programme on part of Main Street have now been completed and further funding of almost £88,000 was provided towards a Spruce-Up programme for Dunluce Street, Lower Cross Street and part of Point Street.  These works have also been completed. 

The revitalisation programme was delivered through separate Steering Groups facilitated by Larne Traders Forum in association with the Town Development Office.  It has helped to rejuvenate the Town Centre and provided an opportunity for more than 60 current businesses to make the most of their shop fronts.  The grant also helped to address vacant units making them more attractive, while owners in other parts of the Town Centre have improved their buildings. The ReStore programme also funded a new website on shopping in Larne which provides details of each store in the Town, its opening hours, contact details and a site location map. 

There’s a new feel-good factor in all areas of the Town Centre where shoppers can choose from high street names to quirky boutiques, cosy cafes and restaurants to specialist shops and award-winning bakeries and butchers, all in a more aesthetically pleasing environment.

Efforts are ongoing to secure further funding to upgrade additional areas of the Town Centre. 

Larne Market Yard

Larne Market Yard, a listed market complex, dates back to Victorian times and has been an integral part of the Town through the decades.  An ambitious regeneration project is currently underway, supported by Larne Borough Council and part funded by Northern Ireland Environment Agency through its Historic Buildings Grant.

The renovation of Larne Market Yard is seen as a prime opportunity to contribute to the regeneration of Larne, enhancing services and facilities to its residents.  Key objectives of this project will focus on:
•    The retention and refurbishment of a listed building;
•    Use as a town centre focal point identified within the Larne Town Centre Masterplan;
•    Opportunity to provide community facilities; and
•    Contribution to economic development of the Borough through market trading and small office space leasing opportunities.

Completion of this significant project is scheduled for August 2013 and it is hoped that this regeneration will open a new chapter in the life of Larne Market Yard and the surrounding community.

 

Larne Borough Contacts:Larne-BC-logo

Larne Borough Council
Smiley Buildings
Victoria Road
Larne BT40 1RU
Tel: 028 2827 2313
E-mail: admin@larne.gov.uk

Larne Tourist Information Centre
Narrow Gauge Road
Larne BT40 1XB
Tel/Fax: 028 2826 0088
E-mail:
larnetourism@btconnect.com

Willowbank Business Park
Willowbank Road
Millbrook
Larne BT40 2SF
Tel: 028 2826 9973
E-mail: kennelson@ledcomwbp.org

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