The deteriorating roads and footpaths in Ballymena’s Pennbybridge Industrial Estate have become an embarrassment says North Antrim MLA Paul Frew.
The DUP representative was speaking after meeting with business people who trade from the estate which dates back to the early 1970s.
Over the years, Pennybridge has developed into one of the largest dedicated industrial and commercial areas in Northern Ireland and is vitally important to the economy of Ballymena and district.
Mr. Frew said he had been troubled to hear that business people were depairing over the estate’s enivironment.
He explained: “Ballymena is in transition and we are in the throes of losing two major employers in the town.
“Yet government agencies have allowed our major industrial estate to fall into disrepair. Business people tell me it is embarrassing when they bring company representatives from other countries over to view their premises in order to secure contracts.
“The whole area needs to be brought up to an acceptable standard. Pennybridge has a high occupancy rate we need to ensure that continues. We need roads resurfaced and footpaths cleaned. Some buildings are looking very shabby - even some that are owned by Government agencies.
“What incentive is there for private business to improve their buildings when they have been slapped with a large increase in rates but the government building next door is rusting and rotting away? Some businesses have invested lately in their buildings and the land around them and where there are derelict sites or buildings they should be covered up somehow.
“A lot of investment is going into the town centre - that brings it’s own pressure but we cannot ignore the plight of our other important and strategic sites because future employment depends on it.”