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  • Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Car boot sales look set to return to Ballymena


Car boot sales look set to return to Ballymena at a carpark in Mount Street, councillors have agreed.


The sales which accompanied the weekly market in the town have not been taking place during the Covid pandemic.


The market has since transferred from the leisure centre carpark to a new location at Ballymoney Road carpark where it has been operating since August 7.


Potential sites at Michelin Athletic Club, Church Street 2 carpark, Broughshane Street carpark and Warden Street carpark for car boot sales have been ruled out.


Mount Street 1 carpark was proposed due to its proximity to the new market location and size of the site.


Independent Ballymena Councillor James Henry said it would be a “disadvantage” to “split the market from the car boot sale”.


“I do think they should both be on the one site,” he stated.


Braid DUP Councillor Beth Adger commented:


“I suggested the ideal place to be holding the Saturday market and car boot sale would be Tesco’s old site in Ballymena in the middle of the town. It would have brought people into the town. Shops would have benefited.”


“It would have accommodated everybody. But it is too late now the market has moved.”


The council’s Operations Director Philip Thompson said that the new market is up and running at Ballymoney Road and is “working well”.


Bannside DUP councillor Alderman Tommy Nicholl remarked: “There does not seem to be a vision for going forward on this subject.


“With a little bit of vision, we could have had a Saturday that would have had Ballymena buzzing. by having it in Tesco. There is so much positivity about that site.


“When I go to other towns on a Saturday morning, for example, Cookstown, I find it to be buzzing with the street traders.”


He went on to say that this has a “spin-off” for the shops and that the suggestion had been put forward for Ballymena which he wants to see “buzzing again”.


It is expected that the car boot sale will be held on Saturday afternoons from 1.00 pm until 5.00 pm.


Meanwhile, a planning application has been lodged by Ballymena Gospel Hall with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for the former Tesco Express retail site at Church Street to facilitate a church meeting/outreach facility.