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23/11/2018

‘Next-generation’ science park proposed for former Ballymena barracks

Words: Roger Milne
The council hopes to harness the talents of young people / iStock-481776514

Ambitious plans to create a multimillion-pound ‘next-generation’ science park on the former St Patrick’s Barracks site in Ballymena are taking shape.

The expectation of the Mid & East Antrim Borough Council is that the Belfast Region City Deal will help bankroll the £26 million project.

The barracks was closed over a decade ago after being deemed surplus to Ministry of Defence requirements.

The 15-hectare site was gifted to the Northern Ireland Executive in 2011 and handed over to the Department for Communities three years ago. All but two of the buildings at the former headquarters of the Royal Irish Regiment were demolished earlier this year.

Part of the site is set to be turned into a new mixed-use housing scheme including 150 social and affordable homes.

Now the council is hoping to unlock a large portion of the site's potential with the creation of a so-called Industrial Inspiration and Innovation Campus (i4C), to "harness the talents of young people".

Councillor Timothy Gaston said: “The plans for St Patrick's are really ambitious and would breathe much-needed new life into our town in the wake of the significant job losses in recent years.

“This is all about diversifying and putting in place the ideal environment for our next generation to grow their skills and create a state-of-the-art hub for innovation in Ballymena.”

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