Despite news that the promised transfer of regeneration powers to the 11 councils in Northern Ireland will not now proceed, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council remains cautiously optimistic on the basis of current and future cooperation as Communities Minister, Paul Givan visited Ballymena today.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE said that while she is ‘disappointed’ over news that transfer of regeneration powers to councils won’t proceed as planned, she remains confident that the Executive will continue to find ways of working with councils to deliver local solutions.
“I am disappointed that the powers will not transfer to the Council,” Cllr Wales said.
“However, when I meet with Minister Givan today I aim to discuss a number of regeneration projects for Mid and East Antrim Borough and to look at ways of further enhancing this relationship.
“While today’s visit is specifically about the plans for the development of the Saint Patrick’s Barracks site in Ballymena, in light of this decision, I hope to be able to broaden that discussion to include close cooperation on a range of related matters,” she said.
Cllr Wales, who is very familiar with the whole issue as the former Chair of the Economic Growth and Development Committee at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, added: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will remain working as a close partner with the Department for Communities (DfC), in the area of regeneration.”
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council remains key to the delivery of regeneration within their localities wherever the powers lie.
Powers to regenerate towns and cities across Northern Ireland will now continue with the Department for Communities, although the Reform of Local Government initially included agreement that these would transfer to the new councils after they were established in 2015.