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Antrim Steeple Park Revitalisation Project receives funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has received initial support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to plan for the regeneration and development of Steeple Park, Antrim. 

Development funding of over £343,000 has been awarded by the Heritage Fund to help the Council progress plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date.

A unique tourist attraction, steeped in history, Steeple Park is believed to have been the original settlement for Antrim town, once the location of a former medieval monastery and home to the famous Antrim Round Tower, a scheduled monument which served as a bell-tower and place of refuge from raiders.

The Council’s proposals for the development of this historic location will explore opportunities to enhance and protect the heritage and biodiversity of the area in a sustainable way through strategic project design.

Early plans include the creation of a wetlands area which will help to reduce potential flooding in the area, a 1km oval boardwalk (3 m wide) providing a “floating” viewing platform over the wetlands and a new shared pedestrian and cycle path from Steeple Road to Stiles Way offering greater access to the local community.

Plans also include Interpretation, which will tell the stories of the rich heritage and history of Antrim’s past.

The Council’s vision for the Steeple Park site is to develop a versatile location attracting both the local community and visitors. A living resource for those who want to explore recreation at leisure, a safe travel route and a place to explore the rich heritage and biodiversity.

Speaking on receiving funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for Steeple Park, The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Mark Cooper said:

“I am delighted the Council has been allocated such a substantial contribution to this planning stage to prepare and enable the future delivery of the Steeple Park.

The heritage and biodiversity in the vicinity of this park is slowly being eroded and needs to be protected. This project will revitalise and refocus the Community on the significance of this location, of what was once in place and to celebrate what still remains. The story of Antrim can be told through this Park. I want to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund and their players for their generosity and for this vote of confidence in this significant project”.

Dr Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we’re delighted to award Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council with a development grant for Steeple Park. It will help put in place plans to revitalise the Park and encourage increased community use. An activity programme will focus on the Park’s biodiversity as well as its historical and archaeological features. We wish the team every success in this development phase and encourage people to get involved in the project through volunteering.”

Later this year the Council will be seeking the support of the Community to enrol as volunteers as “Steeple Park Guardians” encouraging local people to be an active part of the project, contributing to the ongoing work in the heritage gardens and to experience the health benefits of working in such a beautiful environment.