Ballymoney Chamber of Commerce President, Winnifred Mellet, was enthusiastic and positive about the town’s future as she welcomed a number of new businesses at a recent chamber meeting.
Commenting on recent town improvements and new investment she said: “Conditions are right for further investment.
“Every area of the town’s life in the last year there has been marked by new investment, improvement of shop fronts, establishment of new business in fashion and home, health and beauty, new specialist retail enterprises, enhanced parks and play facilities and an increased café culture. We are a town on the move and there is more development in the pipeline, with plans for new large housing development and development of business properties.”
Local business owners and managers met to discuss progress on the town’s development and to discuss plans for events at Halloween and Christmas including Santa’s Grotto. Businesses were encouraged to lend support to participation in the town’s “Wear It Pink” event under the breast cancer campaign on October 23rd and the further roll out of the Dementia Awareness training programme.
On the development front members learned that three properties had been restored under the townscape heritage scheme with two more to commence soon and a number of others at the planning stage. The revitalisation scheme in Main Street, funded by Department of Social Development and Council, completed earlier in the year, saw some 50 properties enhanced.
The town transport study commissioned earlier this year was complete and the report was due to be published in the next couple of weeks. The study addresses traffic management issues and provides potential for opportunity sites identified in the town plan to be taken forward, regenerating key areas of the town centre. Members reviewed the proposals for streetscape improvements; an enhanced civic space to better accommodate public events; opportunity sites aimed at regenerating key areas of the town and a new transport hub.
Transport was an issue which engaged members’ attention with a number of members raising concerns at inadequate bus services from outlying villages to the town centre. This meant that regular shoppers, particularly older people, from local villages were not able to come to town as regularly as they would like.
Following several meetings of Chamber Officials to discuss attracting more new business a list of leads identified were discussed to be further explored. The closure of Dunnes Stores in Church Street and potential uses was also discussed. Members also identified the need for sports and leisure sector including play activities for young children. The extension of WiFi together with further revitalisation plans to other town streets was identified.
Rating and valuation of properties remains a live issue and Vice President Eddie Cassells is currently advancing various matters raised by local business with government officials.
Speaking after the meeting Chamber President Winnifred Mellet commented: “I was greatly encouraged by the interest and enthusiasm of our local business representatives and their commitment to lend support to the Chamber’s efforts to attract new investment and lobby for additional investment in town infrastructure.”