Proposal to spruce up alleyways with planting and colour

Benches and awnings are among suggestions for “greening” of alleyways in Mid and East Antrim.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 12:50 pm

Planting fruit and vegetables, trees, wild flowers, pots and hanging baskets are also among ideas for improving walkways, according to a report presented to Mid and East Antrim’s Direct Services Committee.

The report says that by “greening alleyways, local communities can improve the appearance of alleyways and other similar spaces”.

Officers are to identify suitable locations across the borough which could benefit from a spruce up and it is hoped that community groups can get involved.

Speaking at the Direct Services Committee meeting, Knockagh DUP Councillor Marc Collins said: “It is a brilliant idea. In Carrick, we are seeing more and more anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping. Alleyways are sometimes a hotspot for that.”

Carrickfergus Alliance Councillor Lauren Gray said that the local authority could “take example from other council areas”.

“We have all become more aware of how important green spaces are during the past year.  Hopefully we can see this come forward and the community benefit from it.”

Coast Road Alliance councillor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna said: “This is an excellent initiative.  It has huge potential.”

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announced plans to provide funding to support the ‘greening’ of alleyways across Northern Ireland in January.

The funding will support community-led projects that make alleyways and similar spaces more attractive through planting, as well as improving accessibility for walking, cycling and other activities to “enhance health and well-being for local residents”.

The Infrastructure Minister said: “‘Greening’ alleyways not only helps to improve the appearance of these spaces but also helps to enhance community pride, reduce anti-social behaviour and generally improve the environment, helping to promote walking, cycling and other activities.

“I have written to local councils to invite them to scope the opportunities that exist to develop small scale green spaces in urban areas within their individual council areas and apply to my Department for funding.

“It is my intention that this will be a rolling programme, with allocations being funded based on budgets on a year by year basis.”

by Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter