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‘Old Bank’ building facing demolition to make way for apartments

Updated: Jul 6

A planning application has been lodged with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council with proposals for the demolition of the ‘Old Bank‘ building on Mill Street, Ballymena, to make way for a new apartment complex.

The decades old building was a best known for originally being a branch of the Belfast Banking Company, before transitioning to the Northern Bank (now Danske Bank), and more recently was used as a doctor’s surgery.

The building pictured ca.1918

The 6,635 square foot building was previously listed for let, described as a ‘prominent red brick building located in Ballymena town centre’ offering ground floor and upper floor rental space (these have been recently used) as well as off street parking to the rear. Further floors in the building have not been used recently and are said to require some works.

The planning application, lodged on 24 August 2021 by E&C Inns (trading as Adair Arms Hotel) is currently at consultation stage, and would see the demolition of the existing building, to make way for a new three-storey detached building, consisting of 12 apartments over three levels. The complex would include the formation of a new car park, boundary fence and associated planting.

At initial stage Dr Chris Jordan, MEABC Public Protection, Health and Well Being, has raised a concern over potential noise impact considering the building’s location, saying:

“Given the proximity of the proposed residential development to an existing hotel, fast food outlets, shopping centre delivery yard and town centre roads, the applicant is requested to undertake a noise impact assessment.”

The application is part of a pattern that is seeing more and more town centre properties and sites being redeveloped for housing, mostly in the design of apartment blocks, such as the recently completed redevelopment of a corner site at Broadway, Ballymena, where planners green-lighted the construction of 27 apartments.

Not everyone sees the modern trend as positive progress, though. Commenting on the potential development on Mill Street, one member of the community said:

“Another possible loss to Ballymena's architectural heritage. The former Belfast Bank / Northern Bank no doubt replaced with cheap-period imitation flats.”

The consultation with neighbours of the proposed town centre development ends today, Wednesday 15 September.