Kelly queries disparity over Sunday opening hours

Neil Kelly Alliance Party conference 2011. Picture by Bernie Brown
Neil Kelly Alliance Party conference 2011. Picture by Bernie Brown

A local councillor has claimed Antrim ratepayers remain disadvantaged with key service facilities - including the Antrim Forum and recycling centre - remaining closed during peak times.

Neil Kelly said Antrim residents were losing out compared to those living close to the Valley in Newtownabbey or Sixmilewater in Ballyclare.

“The lack of consistency across the borough is unacceptable,” Cllr. Kelly said.

He added: “I have been raising this issue for the last five years and fail to see why the ratepayer in Antrim continues to receive a reduced service at some facilities from the new Super Council than the ratepayer in Newtownabbey.

“For example, the recycling centre in Newtownabbey is open all day Sunday, yet the gates in Antrim remain firmly shut and when it comes to fitness centres, ratepayers across Newtownabbey and Ballyclare can use their local centres from 9am on a Sunday, yet in Antrim Forum users are restricted until 2pm.

“The time to address this was when the two Councils merged, yet still we are operating a divided service with the public keen to see change.

“The outcome of a survey carried out at the recycling centre a number of years ago showed clearly ratepayers n Antrim want to see a change to Sunday opening.

“Yet Antrim Councillors voted against the public will, preferring to protect their own agenda.”

He added: “We are now one council and if arrangements were in place to facilitate early opening and Sunday opening in Newtownabbey then we as a council should be able to make this happen right across the Borough to provide equitable services to everyone no matter where they live.

“I will continue to raise this issue and work on behalf of the ratepayer until we achieve services that are not only value for money but equitable and fair for everyone across all of our new council area.”