Council must keep up barracks interest

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Ballymena Borough Council must remain involved in discussions over future plans for St Patrick’s Barracks in the months before it is swallowed up into the new Mid & East Antrim authority, Ald. Maurice Mills has said.

His comments came at the August meeting of Council at which a written update on the barracks site was presented to members from the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers (OFMDFM).

It revealed that a trawl for public sector interest in the site had been carried out by Land & Property Services and that the responses to the trawl along with representations from Ballymena and Mid & East Antrim Councils “are currently being considered as part of the discussions on the future of the site”.

The St Patrick’s Barracks site occupies a significant position within Ballymena and has been recognised as having the potential to help meet the wider regeneration needs of the town centre and its environs.

While part of the site is owned and has been developed by Fold Housing, other parts have been confirmed by the OFMDFM for public sector use.

Ballymena Borough Council is interested in securing a substantial part of the site, including the playing field, with the intention of putting it to community and sporting use.

Ald Mills said: “It is very important that we (Ballymena Council) in the next nine months are very much involved in this because this could very readily lose momentum.”