Portaferry's Exploris Aquarium is set for a facelift following news that it is to be managed by private sector company Livingstone Leisure Ltd.
The successful bid by the company marks the latest step in the transfer of management from Ards Borough Council into the private sector and work now starts on finalising the 25-year lease of the aquarium and surrounding parkland.
Livingstone Leisure Ltd, which specialises in operating visitor attractions, is now planning to enhance the experience at Exploris and boost visitor numbers.
The investment will secure the long-term future of the aquarium, according to councillor Robert Gibson, chair of the council’s development committee.
“The council’s existing level of expenditure at Exploris is simply not sustainable,” he said. “Our staff are protected at the point of transfer and this private sector investment will refresh the aquarium and boost its appeal.”