Committee Visits Ballymena to See Town Centre Regeneration
Date: Thursday, 23 May 2013
Reference: SD 04/12/13
The Assembly's Committee for Social Development today visited Ballymena where they held their weekly meeting in the Town Hall. Following a briefing from Departmental officials on the work of the High Street Taskforce, the Committee received an update from Ballymena Council officials on the progress of their Business Improvement District (BID).
The project is funded through the European Union's INTERREG Programme and aims to encourage businesses to work together for sustainable growth. As part of the visit, the Committee met street traders to hear first-hand their concerns and hopes for the future.
Chairperson of the Committee Alex Maskey MLA, noted the excellent work already done by the Council in association with Ballymena Town Centre Development Ltd (BTCD) to deliver the project.
He said: "Ballymena Council is leading the way in the development of its business improvement district. We need our business people to be proactive in order that town centre regeneration is a reality and this is evident in Ballymena.
"In considering the Business Improvement Districts Bill last autumn the Committee noted that all stakeholders recognised that the establishment of a BID was not the panacea to all of the problems faced by the High Street, something that the shop owners of Ballymena told us again today. It is encouraging that Ballymena's BID is part of a wider Integrated Economic Development Strategy linking not just the town centre but the surrounding villages that make up the Borough.
He concluded, "The report of the High Street Taskforce highlighted several key themes which indicate the importance of working together for a co-ordinated and strategic approach to town centre regeneration. Sharing experience and expertise is also key and my Committee will do all it can to facilitate and encourage such collaboration for the good of our town centres."
The Committee for Social Development pictured on a visit to Ballymena Town Hall where Members heard from Ballymena Borough Council Officials including the Lord Mayor P J McAvoy on the Council's work on Town Centre Regeneration. Pictured L-R are Committee Member Michael Copeland MLA, Committee Chairperson Alex Maskey MLA, Committee Member Fra McCann MLA, Ballymena Lord Mayor PJ McAvoy, Committee Deputy Chairperson Micky Brady MLA and Cllr Maurice Mills, Chair of the Economic Growth & Development Committee, Ballymena Borough Council.
Notes to Editors:
The Committee was briefed by:
Mayor PJ McAvoy, Ballymena Borough Council.
Anne Donaghy, Ballymena Borough Council CEO.
Cllr Maurice Mills, Chair of the Economic Growth & Development Committee, Ballymena Borough Council.
The Committee for Social Development membership is:
Alex Maskey MLA (Chairperson)
Mickey Brady MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Paula Bradley MLA
Pam Brown MLA
Gregory Campbell MLA
Judith Cochrane MLA
Michael Copeland MLA
Sammy Douglas MLA
Mark H Durkan MLA
Fra McCann MLA
David McClarty MLA
The Clerk of the Social Development Committee is:
Dr. Kevin Pelan
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 90 521864