Committee passes £300k upgrade to Knock Road

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A Ballymoney councillor has described Council’s Knock Road Depot as ‘not the most glamorous’ of places.

DUP councillor Alan McLean was speaking at last Tuesday night’s Environmental Services Committee as members were asked to make a decision on a £368,000 spend to upgrade the depot at Knock Road.

Members were told that the facility required an upgrade to meet with health and safety and welfare regulations.

The proposed upgrade would mean turning the single storey building into a two storey building with more office/storage space and a reception area.

Councillor McLean welcomed the upgrade and said it was ‘sad’ that the depot was in the state it was in.

DUP colleague, councillor Frank Campbell urged members to support the recommendation, saying that the upgrade would ‘support’ the staff in Ballymoney.

UUP councillor Richard Holmes was critical of the spend, describing it as ‘ludicrous’

He asked council officials to ‘justify’ the spend, and pointed out that there were unused rooms in other council buildings that could be used by the depot staff.

He added: “The point of the four councils coming together was to deliver savings. Now we are spending. I thought that the whole idea was to centralise things, instead we are taking what we have and upgrading.”

Gareth Doyle, Head of Estates highlighted the need for the upgrade, pointing out that he feared someone would fall through the floor of one of the portacabins currently used at at Knock Road: “Something has to be done at the facility. The Health and Safety Executive raised issues back in 2013, we have waiting until the new Councils were formed, now is the time to do the work.”

Councillor Holmes proposed an amendment that the officers take the recommendation back and look at savings: “This could be done at one fifth of the price,” he said. The amendment was voted down and Cllr McLean’s proposal to proceed carried.