Corporate Plan

2024-2028 Corporate Plan



Welcome from Valerie Watts, Interim Chief Executive

As the Interim Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, I am pleased to welcome you to our fourth Corporate Plan.

Following the local government elections in May 2023, we welcomed a new mandate of 40 Elected Members and began finalising our Plan, which will shape our strategic direction up to 2028.

This Plan is a direct reflection of what you, the people of Mid and East Antrim, have told us you want and aims to deliver for the borough in a time of both significant opportunity and considerable challenge.

As a council, and as a community, we have all been affected by recent global events - from the pandemic to record levels of inflation, and now the cost-of-living crisis.

This Plan aims to ensure that we as an organisation, use our resources wisely to make sure we provide first class, value for money services and facilities at an affordable cost.

To do this, we are taking a closer look at what we do and how we do it. We are looking both internally and externally, to identify ways to improve our services, support economic prosperity and develop safe and inclusive communities, all whilst protecting and enhancing our environment.

A key focus over the next four years will be the delivery of the Belfast Region City Deal.

The highly ambitious deal will help drive inclusive growth and promote our borough as a prime place to invest and do business, focusing on long-term growth, driving productivity, and creating and sustaining jobs.

Providing leadership and direction on our journey to achieve our vision is Council’s Senior Management Team and your elected representatives from across the 7 districts of the borough. 

Collectively, your Elected Members have over 265 years experience advocating for, and promoting the needs of citizens at both local and central government levels.

We cannot achieve our vision for the borough overnight, nor can we do it alone.

The involvement of our citizens, communities and businesses, is essential.

By working together, we can turn this vision into a reality and make Mid and East Antrim an ideal place to live, visit, work and invest.

Valerie Watts
Interim Chief Executive

Welcome from Mid and East Antrim Elected Members

As your elected representatives for the borough of Mid and East Antrim, we ae proud to support this Corporate Plan. 

We have a shared vision to improve the quality of life for the local communities we represent.

We are committed to addressing the problems facing our communities, including financial pressures, continued recovery from the global pandemic, and tackling climate change.

Addressing the severe funding pressures that we currently find ourselves under is at the forefront of our agenda.

Through the implementation of innovative and creative solutions, we have already made some substantial savings and efficiencies, and we will continue to do everything we can to deliver a balanced budget, and to ensure continued delivery of vital services across the borough.

We pledge ourselves to continue to represent you, to advocate for you, and to be your voice, helping to steer the direction of the Council to deliver on our vision.

Cooperation and collaboration will be at the center of this, and together, we will work for local people, in local places, for the fulfilment of local needs.

Your Elected Members

Your Council

40 Councillors, elected in 7 District Electoral Areas, working together to create a better future for all in Mid and East Antrim.

For details on your elected representatives please go to our Councillors section.

Our Borough

The borough of Mid and East Antrim covers an area of just over 400 square miles extending from the River Bann in the west, to the beautiful Antrim coast in the east, and includes part of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There are 3 main towns, Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne, and a host of welcoming villages and rural communities, which are home to a population of just under 140,000 people.

Our Highlights

The below provides a snapshot of just a few of our activities throughout the past year.

The upcoming points provide a snapshot of just a few of our activities throughout the past year. These have helped to enhance community bonds, drive economic growth, and enrich the overall quality of life for everyone living, working, visiting and doing business in our borough.

Our highlights include:

  • £260,000 grant funding awarded to local groups across the borough.
  • 17 work placements facilitated across various Council departments.
  • 12,788 tonnes of materials processed through our Household Recycling Centres.
  • 3.2 tonnes of toys donated through our Christmas Toy Container Project.
  • 5,368 items collected through the School Uniform Scheme, benefitting 1,676 children and young people.
  • 45,250 attendees enjoyed 18 Council organised events.
  • 384 home safety checks carried out across the borough.
  • 14 community planning initiatives delivered.
  • 795 businesses engaged through a variety of economic support programmes.
  • 150,000 visitors welcomed at our key tourist attractions.
  • 2,554 individuals participated in 88 outdoor recreation programmes.
  • 60,512 trees planted across the borough.
  • 14 Autism Awareness workshops delivered.
  • 9,755 individuals took part in 1,308 MEActive sessions.
  • 416 participants supported through employability programmes, resulting in 340 qualifications and 182 jobs.

Working in Partnership

The ambitions we have for Mid and East Antrim cannot be met by the Council or any singular organisation alone.

Success will depend on our people and organisations coming together to harness their collective knowledge, skills, effort, and passion for the benefit of everyone.

We are committed to developing and maintaining strong partnerships with organisations – including community groups and public, private, and third sector organisations – from across Northern Ireland to deliver on shared outcomes and goals, which can only be achieved when we work together.

Over the years, we have collaborated with partners to deliver a range of awareness raising campaigns, community events, training sessions and transformational projects for the lifelong benefit of our citizens.

As we move forward into the next four years and beyond, we will continue to work with our partners on the issues impacting our communities.

These include, but are not limited to, poverty, unemployment, mental health awareness, suicide prevention and safety on our roads.

It would be impossible for us to list all of our partners, however, an example of just some of the organisations we work with include:

  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
  • Tourism Northern Ireland
  • Diabetes UK
  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Sport Northern Ireland
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Department for Communities
  • Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service
  • Northern Ireland Water
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • Woodland Trust
  • Policing & Community Safety Partnership
  • Sustainable Northern Ireland
  • Department of Health

Developing our Plan

Our Corporate Plan has been heavily influenced by a variety of internal and external factors, each of which can have a direct impact on our ability to achieve our vision.

Corporate Plan influencers are:

  • Our Community Plan 2017-2032
  • Council surveys
  • Council strategies and policies
  • Statutory duties
  • Programme for Government
  • Regional statistical data
  • Customer feedback
  • Council resources
  • Environmental social & economic landscape of Northern Ireland

You Told Us

We undertook a Citizens Survey in 2022 to provide us with an understanding of the views of our citizens.

We used the feedback obtained to guide us in the development of this Plan.

Your top 5 priorities for making the borough a better place to live are:

  1. Supporting and developing activities for children and young people.
  2. Support to reduce poverty.
  3. Developing skills and job prospects.
  4. Delivering clean and attractive streets and towns.
  5. Supporting our parks, green spaces and the natural and built environment.

Our Plan

Given the close relationship between the Corporate Plan and the Community Plan (2017-2032), we will retain the same vision for the borough:

Mid and East Antrim will be a strong, vibrant, safe and inclusive community, where people work together to improve the quality of life for all.

In striving to achieve our vision, the Corporate Plan will be delivered under the 4 key pillars of People, Place, Planet and Performance.

In the following sections, we explore each pillar in detail, outlining our ambitions, the strategies we will use to achieve them, and the tangible outcomes our citizens, communities and businesses can expect to see.


Our ambition:

By 2028, Mid and East Antrim will be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming borough, where diversity and cultural differences are celebrated, and communities live in peace.

Our people will have equity of opportunity and support to achieve their full potential, in both a professional and personal capacity. Individuals and communities will be empowered to be independent and self- sustaining, enabling us to concentrate our efforts on those who need it most.

To achieve this we will:

  • Work in partnership with employers and stakeholders to support those seeking employment, provide upskilling support, improve access to the labour market for those with disabilities, and promote skills pathways.
  • Promote the benefits of offering apprenticeships and work experience opportunities to enhance skills development and bridge the gap between education and employment.
  • Support and deliver opportunities for our citizens to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health.
  • Explore ways to help vulnerable and marginalised individuals feel welcomed and supported in their local communities, removing feelings of isolation or exclusion.
  • Lead by example to improve equality, accessibility, and inclusion across the borough by embedding it into everything we do.
  • Work alongside partners to encourage good relations, enhance community pride, and reinforce a strong sense of belonging in our communities.
  • Strengthen community safety, and boost public confidence, by forging collaborative partnerships that focus on proactive and comprehensive crime prevention.

What you will see:

  • Programmes to encourage employability and skills development of citizens.
  • Enhanced volunteer and work experience/placement opportunities within Council.
  • Opportunities to take part in diverse and accessible physical activities.
  • Programmes to support mental and emotional health.
  • Initiatives to support those who are vulnerable, marginalised, or who have a disability.
  • The delivery of good relations activities.
  • Early intervention and support programmes for those most at risk of becoming involved in crime.


Our ambition:

By 2028, Mid and East Antrim will be widely recognised as an ideal place to live, visit, work and do business.

We will have vibrant, clean, and harmonious shared spaces, designed to showcase our natural, and built, heritage and assets. Our tourism offering will be filled with diversity and richness of culture, history, and heritage, attracting visitors on a global scale.

Businesses, new and existing, will have the required support to grow and prosper, leading to an economically innovative and sustainable borough, offering stable employment, inclusive growth and an ideal place to invest.

To achieve this we will:

  • Support the development of a sustainable, dynamic, and prosperous local economy that helps businesses to grow, and promote the borough as an ideal place to do business for both new and existing companies.
  • Help drive sustainable economic growth by promoting the borough as a leading visitor and cultural destination, utilising our natural, and built, heritage and assets.
  • Support our towns and villages to help regenerate and stimulate economic activity, while protecting and conserving our natural and historic landscape.
  • Enhance and expand our amenities, parks, open spaces, and built heritage, making sure they meet the needs of all, while encouraging their respectful and mindful use.
  • Conduct Council business in a way that encourages economic prosperity within the borough.

What you will see:

  • Support for local start-ups, businesses, and social enterprises.
  • Promotion of the borough as an attractive investment location, with a particular focus on tourism and cleantech.
  • Further development of our tourism offering, with an emphasis on community-led and regenerative tourism.
  • Targeted conservation and regeneration activities.
  • Enhanced parks, open spaces and built heritage.
  • Delivery of an effective and efficient planning service.
  • Prompt payment of our suppliers.


Our ambition:

By 2028, Mid and East Antrim will be at the forefront of balancing progression with sustainability.

We will be an emerging NI hub for innovation, environmental and cleantech skills training, and green economic growth.

Our commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will have set a standard for excellence across the region.

Our dedication to safeguarding our natural and built heritage and preserving the environment through climate change mitigation and adaptation, will ensure a thriving and resilient future for generations to come.

To achieve this we will:

  • Empower, educate, and work in partnership with our citizens, communities, and businesses, to progress the borough towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Support local communities to create an environmentally resilient and sustainable borough that is equipped to deal with emergency situations, including climate adaptation.
  • Protect our natural environment, enhance biodiversity, and retain or increase Council’s current levels of carbon capture.
  • Lead by example and reduce the impact of our own operations to progress our organisation towards net- zero emissions by 2040, by embedding sustainability and climate adaptation into all decision making.
  • Deliver an effective and efficient waste service that supports citizens, communities, and businesses to reduce waste and promote a more circular economy.

What you will see:

  • Championing and supporting of environmental learning and best practice.
  • Delivery of a range of projects to support businesses to achieve net zero.
  • Collaboration with local communities to encourage climate and environmental resilience and sustainability.
  • The protection and restoration of natural habitats, increased tree cover, and enhanced biodiversity through our parks and green spaces.
  • A reduction in our operational energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Achievement of environmental standards and targets, coupled with boosted reuse and recycling rates.


Our ambition:

By 2028, we will operate as a single entity, fully embracing the vision of the Reorganisation of Public Administration (RPA 2015).

We will be a sustainable, customer focused organisation and employer of choice, attracting and retaining the right people, with the right skills, to deliver our vision for the borough.

We will provide value for money services by building solid foundations, learning from our mistakes, and instilling sound governance arrangements.

To achieve this we will:

  • Redesign the organisation to work more effectively and efficiently, ensuring financial competence and resilience, delivering social value, and offering good value for money services in a sustainable manner.
  • Develop our key support services to help us achieve our goals, underpinning and enabling us to operate effectively and meet our core, statutory and regulatory obligations.
  • Continue to work alongside our partners to progress the delivery of the Community Plan and other Council strategies, sharing knowledge, skills, and best practice, to create synergy and influence decision making to achieve the best outcomes for the borough at an affordable cost.
  • Empower and equip our staff, through comprehensive skill development initiatives, fostering a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and growth, ultimately enhancing individual and organisational capabilities.
  • Prioritise employee health and wellbeing, encompassing physical, mental, and emotional health, creating an environment where everyone feels valued, motivated and confident, enabling them to thrive personally and professionally.
  • Invest in our Elected Members, providing them with the required skills and knowledge to effectively govern.
  • Include stakeholders in our decision-making processes through consultation, communication, and engagement, in order to increase satisfaction levels.

What you will see:

  • Implementation of our ‘Good Governance’ review.
  • Robust budget arrangements and sound financial management.
  • Utilisation of technology to improve service delivery.
  • Delivery against the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The adoption of a ‘Customer-First’ approach.
  • Health and wellbeing initiatives for staff.
  • Skilled, adaptive, and proactive staff and Elected Members.
  • Increased levels of customer and staff satisfaction.

Statutory Key Performance Indicators

The Department for Communities set statutory indicators and targets for councils in the areas of Planning, Economic Development and Waste.

These are outlined in our annual business plans, and within our annual Performance Improvement Plan. 

We also set our own internal targets to ensure continuous improvement within these areas.

Performance updates are published on this website every 3 months on our Performance Improvement Plan section.

Additionally, we provide progress updates to various regional bodies, who then issue reports comparing the performance of all 11 councils across Northern Ireland.

Our statutory key performance indicators and targets are:

Indicator 1:

  • The average processing time of major planning applications
  • Target: A maximum of 30 weeks

Indicator 2:

  • The average processing time of local planning applications
  • Target: A maximum of 15 weeks

Indicator 3:

  • The percentage of enforcement cases concluded within 39 weeks
  • Target: A minimum of 70%

Indicator 4:

  • The number of jobs promoted through business start interventions
  • Target: A minimum of 107 jobs

Indicator 5:

  • The percentage of household waste collected by district councils that is sent for recycling
  • Target: A minimum of 50%

Indicator 6:

  • The amount of biodegradable Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste that is landfilled
  • Target: A maximum of 16,387 tonnes

Indicator 7:

  • The amount (tonnage) of Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste arisings
  • Target: The Department for Communities requires that each council sets and monitors its own individual target for this indicator annually

Please note that these targets are all subject to change pending legislative review.

Belfast Region City Deal

Belfast Region City Deal is an investment programme of over £1 billion which aims to support the creation of up to 20,000 jobs across the greater Belfast area.

The deal will play a pivotal role in the delivery of this Corporate Plan, and ultimately showcase our borough as the perfect place to live, visit, work and invest.

The deal’s ambitions for inclusive growth will be delivered across four key pillars of investment:

  • Innovation & Digital
  • Tourism & Regeneration
  • Infrastructure
  • Employability & Skills

The deal will benefit Mid and East Antrim by:

  • Driving inclusive growth across the borough.
  • Positioning the borough as world class in key sectors such as cleantech and hydrogen.
  • Establishing a major economic boost for the borough.
  • Welcoming the investment of £80m across three flagship projects.
  • Creating a once in a generation opportunity for our citizens and businesses.

The three projects include:

i4C Innovation Centre, Ballymena

With an investment of £24m+.

This project includes:

  • Regeneration of former St Patrick’s Barracks in the heart of Ballymena, creating a total of 300 direct, indirect and induced jobs.
  • A major catalyst and enabler of inclusive growth, contributing £11.6m GVA per annum to the local economy.

The Gobbins Phase 2, Larne

With an investment of £13m+.

This project includes:

  • Establishing The Gobbins as one of Northern Ireland’s top paid attractions by 2033, contributing £3.1m GVA per annum to the local economy.
  • Creation of a spectacular staircase structure to link existing cliff top and coastal paths, as well as a fully accessible 360° virtual reality offering, catering for everyone in all weather conditions.

Carrickfergus Regeneration

With an investment of £42m+.

This project includes:

  • Delivering improvements to Carrickfergus Castle, focusing on the visitor hub and historic walls, coupled with a public realm scheme to strengthen the Castle’s connection to the town centre.
  • Significant job creation, including 160 in attractions and 143 in construction.

Delivering our Plan

To drive performance at all levels across the organisation, we developed a Performance Management Framework. 

This framework clearly illustrates how our corporate strategies, aims, and objectives, all cascade down through the organisation, and ultimately to each employee’s individual work plan.

The Community Plan
  • The Community Plan sits at the top of the framework and sets the 15-year vision for the borough.

  • It is led by the Council and was developed in partnership with a range of stakeholders from across the borough's public, private and voluntary sectors.

The Corporate Plan
  • This four-year strategic plan for Council sits below the Community Plan.

  • It shapes our services and drives our annual business planning process to ensure everything we do is aimed at achieving our objectives and our vision.

The Performance Improvement Plan
  • This annual improvement plan sits below the Corporate Plan.

  • It sets our key improvement objectives for the year ahead and helps meet the objectives of both the Community Plan and the Corporate Plan.

Annual Business Plans
  • Each service area develops an annual business plan,

  • Objectives and performance indicators link directly to the Community Plan, Corporate Plan and Performance Improvement Plan.

Employee Personal Development Plan (PDP)
  • These plans sit at the bottom of the framework and are developed by employees annually.

  • They link each employee’s work, and learning and development needs, to departmental objectives, the Corporate Plan, and ultimately the Community Plan.

Reporting on our Plan

Our reporting structures have been designed to ensure proper oversight and accountability across all Council activities.

They provide our Senior Management Team and Elected Members with assurances that our governance arrangements are robust.

This helps to ensure transparency, accountability and to further drive continuous improvement.

These arrangements are outlined below.

On an annual basis, we also publish a Performance Self-Assessment Report.

This demonstrates to our citizens, service users and stakeholders the Council’s progress in discharging its duties under Part 12 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 in relation to performance improvement arrangements.

In line with statutory requirements, the report is published on our website by 30 September each year.

You can view and download our previous Self-Assessment Reports on our website.

Our reporting arrangements are as follows:

  • The Community Plan is reported to:
    • The Strategic Alliance (every six months).
    • The Community Panel (every quarter).
    • The Neighbourhoods and Communities Committee (as appropriate).
  • The Corporate Plan is reported to:
    • The Senior Management Team (every six months).
    • Full Council (every six months).
  • The Performance Improvement Plan is reported to:
    • The Senior Management Team (every quarter).
    • The Corporate Resources, Policy, and Governance Committee (every quarter).
  • Annual Business Plans are reported to:
    • The assigned Director (every quarter).

Funding Our Plan

Within this section, we outline our projected sources of income and areas of expenditure for the 2024/25 financial year.

While these projections are based on the 2024/25 financial year, they can be used as an indicative guide for the duration of this Plan.

Where our money comes from:

  • 72% From District Rates
  • 13% From Fees and Charges
  • 14% From Grants
  • 1% From Other

How we will spend our money:

  • 12% From Capital Financing
  • 17% From Corporate Services
  • 20% From Parks and Open Spaces
  • 14% From Community, Leisure and Environmental Health
  • 4% From Economic Development
  • 25% From Waste and Street Cleansing
  • 4% From Planning and Building Control
  • 4% From Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage

What we are responsible for

We deliver a wide range of key services, as shown below, to help improve the quality of life for our citizens, to promote the borough as a place to visit and do business, and to protect and enhance our natural environment.

  • Environmental Health, Animal Welfare and Dog Control
  • Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Bin Collection and Recycling
  • Planning and Building Control
  • Parks, Cemeteries and Open Spaces
  • Community Planning and Development
  • Public Conveniences
  • Off-street Parking
  • Economic Development
  • Leisure, Recreation and Sport
  • Registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships
  • Licensing

What we are not responsible for

There are some common misconceptions about what we are responsible for, and whilst we do not deliver the services outlined here, your Elected Members can advocate and make representations on your behalf to these and other organisations.

  • Roads, potholes, footpaths, streetlights, bridges and on-street parking
  • Water, sewerage and septic tank clearance
  • Electricity
  • Penalty Charge Notice issued at off-street parking
  • Housing
  • Flooding

For enquiries relating to ‘Roads, potholes, footpaths, streetlights, bridges, and on-street parking’:

For enquiries relating to ‘Water and sewage, including septic tank clearance’:

For enquiries relating to ‘Electricity’:

For enquiries relating to ‘Penalty Charge Notice issued at off-street parking’:

  • Contact: NSL

For enquires relating to ‘Housing’:

For enquires relating to ‘Flooding’:

  • Contact: Flooding Incident Line
  • T: 0300 200 0100 (24 hour)

Playing your Part

We are now calling on you, the citizens, communities and businesses of Mid and East Antrim, to help us achieve our vision of making the borough a safe, vibrant, shared and inclusive place to live, visit, work and invest.

We cannot deliver this Corporate Plan alone, and whilst collaboration with organisations from across the region can strengthen our ability to do so, we still need the support and cooperation from our most influential partner - you.

We have listed some of the key things you can do to help us on this journey:

  • Exercise safety on our roads
  • Be a responsible pet owner
  • As business owners, offer apprenticeships and placement opportunities
  • Donate unwanted items to charity
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle
  • Report problems e.g. fly tipping, anti-social behaviour etc
  • Use litter bins provided
  • Get involved in community and voluntary work
  • Shop local
  • Support our elderly and vulnerable
  • Use public transport


In accordance with the statutory requirements set out in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998), whereby the Council must carry out its functions having due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and regard for the desirability to promote good relations, this Plan has been subject to an equality screening.

The equality screening exercise did not identify any major adverse effects on any Section 75 category or requirements for mitigation, and therefore determined that there was no necessity to conduct a full equality impact assessment.

In accordance with the Rural Needs Act Northern Ireland (2016), the Council has given due regard to rural needs by carrying out a rural needs impact assessment of this Plan.

No adverse impacts were determined as part of this process.

This Plan will have a positive impact on the borough as a whole.

As part of our statutory duty to promote sustainable development, we carried out Climate and Sustainability screening.

This considered the likely impacts of this Plan, following the 5 pillars of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.

No adverse impacts were determined as part of this process.

A Data Protection Impact Assessment screening was also undertaken, and as a result of this, a full Data Protection Impact Assessment was not deemed necessary.

Closing Remarks from the Interim Chief Executive

As we draw this document to a close, I would like to reiterate our commitment and enthusiasm for the strategic journey laid out in this Corporate Plan.

Our goals are ambitious, but by working together, they are within reach.

We understand that the road ahead may present challenges, but please be assured, addressing the needs of the borough remains our highest priority.

For those eager to stay informed and engaged with our efforts, I warmly encourage you to follow our journey via our social media channels.

These platforms offer a window into the transformative work we are carrying out across the borough.

For more detailed updates of our progress in achieving the objectives laid out within this Plan, I invite you to monitor our website for six-monthly progress reports.

These updates will allow you to see the tangible impacts of our collective efforts.

In our quest for continuous improvement, your feedback is invaluable.

We welcome your suggestions and comments on areas where we can enhance our services at any point throughout the year.

Please feel free to reach out to us at:

As we embark on our journey into the next four years, let me express my sincere gratitude for your support and partnership.

Together, we will forge a future that reflects our shared values and ambitions, ensuring a prosperous and sustainable borough for the generations to come.

Valerie Watts
Interim Chief Executive

Other formats

If you would like this publication in an alternative format, such as large print, or another language, please email:

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
1-29 Bridge Street
BT43 5EJ

T: 0300 1245 000