Council shock over Edward Street Centre

Eward Street Social Centre.
Eward Street Social Centre.

CAUSEWAY Coast and Glens Council has agreed to reconsider the future of Ballymoney’s Edward Street Social Centre following devastating news that they ‘don’t own’ the property!

The shocking revelations were discussed at last Tuesday’s Leisure and Development Committee meeting, after a Council lawyer revealed that the owners of the premises are the Northern Ireland Council of Social Service (Incorporated) who acquired the property in 1963.

Mr Hunter outlined that a trust deed was then enacted between NI Council of Social Service and Ballymoney Evergreen Club in 1963. He added: “Searches were carried out in the Registry of Deeds and the Land Registry to establish if any deeds relating to ownership were registered after 1963, with no results.”

Mr Hunter also concluded that the NI Council of Social Service no longer existed.

In response, councillor Darryl Wilson said he was “absolutely staggered at the news”, he continued: “Edward Street Social Centre has played a key role in community facilities for years. To say it’s not owned by Council and they have never owned it for last 53 years is unbelievable. We’re in such a quandary now, what do we do?”

Members questioned who carried out the general running of the building, paid the rates and insurance, made the bookings and took payment and carried out the maintenance.

They also expressed concern over a previous recommendation by Council to carry out an Audit of Need and Options Appraisal of the facility in relation to future investment.

Councillor Ian Stevenson explained: “We can’t make a decision until we contact the stakeholders.

“How can we implement any of the recommendations when we don’t know who owns it?”

After a discussion, members agreed to seek clarity of ownership before moving forward. However following concern over Healthy and Safety issues and the condition of the building, it was agreed that Council should carry out a ‘condition survey’ as well as consult users regarding their needs and considerations.