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‘People power can save ailing town centre’

Urging more people to shop local: Darren Black, President of Ballyclare Chamber of Trade pictured outside some of the vacant units on Main Street.

Urging more people to shop local: Darren Black, President of Ballyclare Chamber of Trade pictured outside some of the vacant units on Main Street.

THE President of Ballyclare Chamber of Trade has warned that if more people don’t support local traders, Ballyclare could soon become a town of boarded up shops.

Darren Black spoke out this week following the recent closure of a number of prominent businesses in the town, and the Bank of Ireland’s decision to shut its Main Street branch.

He said that many traders are struggling to survive the harsh economic climate, and appealed to local residents to support businesses in and around the town.

“Sadly there have been another couple of businesses close recently and the Chamber has also received word that one or two further businesses on The Square will be closing or relocating out of the town centre where they can get cheaper rent and rates,” he told the Times.

With many shop and office units in the town lying vacant, particularly prominent properties such as the former Woodsides building, the old Asda store and potentially now the Bank of Ireland site, Mr Black stressed the need for traders to work together in a bid to rejuvenate the local economy.

“The future of shopping in town centres is in real jeopardy, not only here but across the entire UK and we would encourage any businesses needing support to get involved with the Chamber so we can tackle ongoing problems such as parking together or introduce new ideas of joint sales and promotions.

“People’s backs are against the wall and a lot of traders are under pressure, but the only way to work and the only way to make the town better is for all the traders to work together.

“We are all under the same pressure, no-one is escaping the economic downturn, but we need to have the ideas and the fight to save businesses.”

Chamber of Trade representatives have previously held meetings with several senior politicians, including First Minister Peter Robinson, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson and Roads Minister Danny Kennedy, to discuss ongoing problems and issues in and around the town centre and what can be done to help businesses in the area.

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

 
 
 

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