Ballymena’s Saturday Market Car Boot sale is destined for a new location - not far from the site where it has been trading for almost 15 years.
A Council committee have agreed an officer recommendation that ‘booters’ be given a new home on the nursery school side of the main Market within the Seven Towers Leisure Centre car park.
Ballymena Borough Council has, since May 2000, had use of the former High School tennis courts for the popular Car Boot sale under a licence agreement with owners, the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB). However, this finally expires on March 31 and, it is understood, will not be renewed as the land is required for development as part of the new Castle Tower School project.
Bringing details of the proposed relocation to last Monday night’s committee meeting, Officer Bernie Candlish stated that 24 market traders and some 17-plus weekly car boot users were consulted and that an evaluation of completed questionnaires confirmed a general preference for the car boot area to remain an integral part of the main Market.
Councillors also heard that relocation of the facility to the nursery school side of the Market emerged from consultation as the most popular of three options and that only one objection was received from a market trader who, she said, will be directly affected by the new layout which will require some stall holders to relocate to different pitches.
Ms Candlish said that integrating the car boot sale within the main Market would ensure that both the current footfall and staff levels are maintained.
She also pointed out that in order to ensure that Saturday traders are treated fairly, the Market Supervisor will have a duty to ensure that all car booters are selling second-hand goods and that any selling new goods will be charged as a Market trader.
Councillors agreed to endorse the officer’s recommendation for relocation of booters to the nursery side of the car park on the proposal of Councillor James McClean, seconded by Councillor John Carson.