‘Anti-social club’ willing to work with residents

1st Ballyclare Linfield Supporters Club at Abercorn Drive.
1st Ballyclare Linfield Supporters Club at Abercorn Drive.

THE management committee of 1st Ballyclare Linfield Supporters Club have stated that they are willing to work with those living in neighbouring properties at Abercorn Drive to try and alleviate problems which may occur when events are held at the club.

The move comes in the wake of a report in last week’s Newtownabbey Times in which a resident of Abercorn Drive claimed that drunk and disorderly patrons of the licensed premises were making life a misery for residents nearby.

The man who has raised objections to the renewal of the club’s Entertainments Licence, also personally addressed local elected representatives at a recent meeting of Newtownabbey Borough Council where he described in detail how residents are plagued by the rowdy conduct of patrons during and after events which take place at the venue.

The PSNI and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Environmental Health department meanwhile, confirmed they were aware of issues at this location, both as regards anti-social problems and noise pollution.

Responding to comments made by the resident, 1st Ballyclare Linfield Supporters Club Secretary, Mr Amos Scott said: “I would like to state that on only one occasion was any complaint made to the Club committee by neighbours - that being the case of empty bottles being tipped into the glass recycling bin late at night. This issue was addressed and has not happened since.

“Regarding the complaint about the 22nd August - this was a Monday and there was nothing being held in the Club on that date.

“The biggest event held at the Club in 2011 was a very successful band parade in July when 31 bands paraded around the town. This parade was marshalled by the PSNI and the Committee of the Ballyclare Protestant Band.

“In previous years the parade started in Abercorn drive, but this year the starting point was changed to the car park beside Dixon Park to alleviate any concerns that the neighbours of the Club might have had with people gathering in the area.

“The finishing point was Abercorn Drive where band members made use of the Club’s facilities and had a quick refreshment before returning to the transport for their journeys home. Hundreds of onlookers including some of the Club’s neighbours enjoyed the parade and other local traders also benefitted without complaint. This annual event passed off peacefully in 2011.”

Mr Scott said the longest serving members of the club were those that attend the weekly Saturday night Old Tyme Dance.

“They are mainly pensioners that have been going to the dance since it was held in the Abbey Hall. It is unimaginable that, as claimed by the objector to the license, that ‘residents fear for their safety from patrons spilling out on to the street’ when these pensioners are getting into their taxis at the end of a night’s dancing!” he declared.

Mr Scott stated that within the Club premises, notices were clearly displayed asking patrons not to carry bottles or glasses outside and to keep noise levels down when using the Smoking Area, which he added was positioned at the commercial end of the street and as far away as possible from residential properties.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...