Minister and Chamber positive about town

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Finance Minister has Mervyn Storey has joined with Ballymoney Chamber of Commerce in urging the public to remain positive about the town’s business success.

The move comes in the week when Minister Storey saw first-hand how a 50% rate discount on empty premises is attracting business to a main shopping area in Belfast.

The Minister was speaking about the Department of Finance and Personnel’s Empty Premises Rate Relief Scheme.

The Scheme offers 50% rate relief for up to a year once empty premises become occupied. The concession applies to any business ratepayer who moves into premises, which were previously used for business purposes and have been unoccupied for 12 months or more.

The Minister said: “This rate relief scheme is ‘made in Northern Ireland’. It has lead the way in the UK, with our policy being replicated in England, Scotland and Wales, helping to attract businesses onto the high street, into our shopping centres and towns. A 50% rate relief in the first year of trading can help local entrepreneurs have the best possible start in their business venture.”

Meanwhile Ballymoney Chamber of Commerce President Winifred Mellet has said that business confidence in Ballymoney is being reflected by the fact that any local shops which have ceased trading for retirement or relocation reasons “have been taken over by someone else or are in the process of being taken over”.

“There is no need for doom and gloom,” Mrs Mellett said adding that Ballymoney has the least empty shops compared with Ballymena and Coleraine.

“I know five or six business people are interested in renting out properties in the town and that is a great boost for us and something we should be focusing on rather than the negative. The Chamber keeps plugging away and we work extremely hard to promote the area. We are very lucky to have many loyal customers who keep coming back and supporting us. Also, the town is looking well since it was repainted.”