Video: Gateway Project plans outlined

A plan spearheaded by local church Green Pastures for a major development at Ballee could create over 1,000 jobs, it has been announced.

The Gateway project plans to develop a 97-acre site adjacent to the Ballee Estate providing training, social intervention services, social housing, a church, a motor village, food retail, a 60-bed hotel, nursing home, care village, and more.

From left: Warwick McCullough (Project Champion), Pastor Jeff Wright (Green Pastures lead pastor), Mark Nodder (MD Wright Group), Mark Donnolly (Director Compassion Ministries), Alan McCombe (Director Gateway Social Investment) and Trevor Dunlop (Director Connect Ministries) look over the plans for the Gateway Project. INBT49-203AC

From left: Warwick McCullough (Project Champion), Pastor Jeff Wright (Green Pastures lead pastor), Mark Nodder (MD Wright Group), Mark Donnolly (Director Compassion Ministries), Alan McCombe (Director Gateway Social Investment) and Trevor Dunlop (Director Connect Ministries) look over the plans for the Gateway Project. INBT49-203AC

Speaking at a “fresh update” for media in Green Pastures on Thursday, Gateway Project Board member Trevor Dunlop described the proposed development as “groundbreaking” and pointed out that it has the potential to support over 1000 jobs in Ballymena and make an annual contribution of £40 million to the local economy.

During the construction phase alone 250 full-time jobs will be created and £2.8million local spend will be injected into the Ballymena economy, he said.

It will also see 100 new training and apprentice places delivered every year in partnership with the Wright Group which, it was revealed, is match funding the £5m being raised for the project by Green Pastures Church.

Wrightbus M.D., Mark Nodder said anyone harbouring reservations “need to see the big picture”.

“It will draw people to Ballymena because the like of this has never been seen before,” he said.

The project is the brainchild of Green Pastures Pastor Jeff Wright, who described it as “a not for profit legacy project” which will also house a new church and conference facility to support Green Pasture’s growing church family.

Subject to planning approval, which architect Warwick McCullough said they are “anticipating in January”, construction will begin in mid-2015 on The Gateway with phase one of construction set to last 18 months.