Ulster Unionist Cllr Darryl Wilson welcomes investment to Ballymoney and Coleraine, and calls for additional help for hard pressed business rate payers.
Cllr Wilson said: “I welcome the announcement of a further £440,000 of funding for Ballymoney and Coleraine as part of the “Revitalisation scheme” which is aimed at providing support to existing traders in the development of their business and to help promote the area as a destination for shoppers and improve the attractiveness of the shop frontages.
“While I appreciate that improving the attractiveness of the shop frontages will be beneficial , I would call on the communities minister to liaise with his fellow ministers in the Stormont Executive to bring about a strategy to tackle the problem of the extortionate rates which are undoubtedly one of the main issues of concern for existing local businesses, and one of the key inhibitors in preventing town centre growth. Attractive shopfronts have little impact on a town centre if a large proportion of the units are empty and unaffordable.
“My aim is to see further investment and an initiative to stimulate growth. A change to our rating system should be a top priority and one which will benefit the owners of town centre premises by supporting existing tenants, while attracting new business to our town centres.
“At Council level the Ulster Unionist grouping will continue to strive to bring about savings and efficiencies in a bid to help reduce the burden on the ratepayer. However, the Stormont Executive has a firm grip on the levers when it comes to deciding how much local business should contribute through rates each year.”