A derelict factory in the centre of Harryville has been sold - but it remains unclear what is planned for the old Flexibox engineering works.
A ‘sold’ label was posted on the site recently, leading to much speculation as to the identity of the purchaser and to its future role.
Originally established in Ballymena in 1957, John Crane Flexibox employed around 150 at its height in the manufacture of engineered sealing systems used in the process, marine and oil recovery industries worldwide.
The site was closed around 10 years ago.
The factory building has been vacant ever since and has steadily deteriorated.
Back in 2011, the Ballymena Times reported how concerns about the site had prompted Martin Clarke, then a local DUP councillor, to call for health and safety action.
After it was discovered that a side gate to the factory premises was unlocked, Alderman Clarke, accompanied by police officers and members of the Harryville Partnership he entered the site.
They were stunned by the sight that greeted them.
“I’ve never seen vandalism like it,” he told The Ballymena Times. “The whole building is a shambles. All the offices have been ransacked and the factory floor has been wrecked. Any valuable stuff like piping is all gone. Everything has been either taken away or destroyed”.
According to previous ‘for sale’ descriptions the ‘subject’ comprises of an extensive development opportunity extending to c. 2.6 acres.
“The site houses a disused manufacturing facility with a gross external area of c. 51,000 sq ft. The facility has generous marshalling areas and can be accessed from either Queen Street or Paradise Avenue.
“The site has full planning permission for the development of 50 No. residential units and a small neighbourhood retail scheme.”
However, it shoudl be noted that the planning consent referred to in this description expired on 15/01/2015.
At that time, the site was for sale at a price of around £200,000.