Ballymena people have taken to social media in droves to heap scorn on the new ‘silver skips’ which have been erected in the town centre.
The ‘skips’ - actually planting boxes which contain a tree - are the latest development in the tortuously slow and controversial public realm scheme which began with a fanfare of publicity amidst promises that it would transform Ballymena’s town centre and boost retail performance.
So far, the promises have not been delivered with the most evident transformation consisting of seemingly endless rows of barriers which quite clearly infuriate both shopkeepers and shoppers alike.
But the arrival of the skips has prompted the local social media scene to explode with comments ranging from the bemused to seriously angry.
One retailer posted: “Not content with digging up the pavements and leaving the town in a mess, Mid & East Antrim’s newest scheme to completely ruin the town centre trade is to stick huge planters in front of our shop with a 12 foot tree to block out the front vista of our shop.
“You couldn’t make it up!”
And the perception of most members of the local public was summed up by the lady who reacted with surprise when told the items were part of the public realm scheme.
She posted: “I thought they were skips or something!”
On a serious note several posters said they had witnessed people with disabilities ‘struggling’ to get around the planters.
A local trader added: “It is hard enough for an able-bodied person to make their way through these barrier systems but these skips are a total joke.”
Another woman said: “The flowerpot things are an obvious nightmare as shoppers have to negotiate around them.
“They are also an eyesore as they look like huge bins and I’m sure they will keep the poor cleaners busy cleaning them out.”