Ballymena’s business leaders back bid for city status

Ballymena’s business leaders back bid for city status

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has officially launched its bid to see Ballymena awarded city status last month as part of a UK-wide competition to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Ballymena Business Improvement District (BID) are backing the ‘City of Seven Towers’ bid in the hope that the accolade will not only attract potential investors but also create jobs, boosting the local economy.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey said: “This is an opportunity to secure fitting recognition for Ballymena and the wider borough as a critical hub for leisure and tourism, business and innovation, and culture and heritage in Northern Ireland. I’m so pleased to see two of the town’s local business organisations get on board and support this bid for city status.

“Through this competition, we will showcase all that is good about our ‘City of the Seven Towers’ and the surrounding area. We have so much to celebrate and to be proud of in Ballymena. Being awarded city status would be a hugely prestigious honour for the borough, generating tremendous civic pride, boosting investor confidence, creating jobs and increasing economic growth.”

Seven Towers heritage

Harnessing Ballymena’s ‘seven towers’ heritage, over the coming weeks, Council will showcase seven main themes all aimed at promoting the rich tapestry of local talent and personalities, the industrial past and world-leading businesses, attractions and areas of outstanding natural beauty surrounding Ballymena, and unique cultural identity.

Council is encouraging everyone to share their stories and support of why Ballymena is such a great place to live, work and enjoy by using the #CityOfSeven hashtag on social media.

‘Resilience and determination’

Eugene Reid, president of Ballymena Chamber of Commerce said: “Ballymena has always punched well above its weight in terms of business. The manufacturing heartland and market town has consistently showed its resilience and determination to succeed. City status will not only cement the pride of its residents and those who work here, but boost investor confidence, creating jobs and increasing economic growth.”

Stephen Reynolds, chair of Ballymena BID also welcomed the competition entry: “It’s a great opportunity for the town to showcase its heritage and tell its stories about the fantastic people and places that make this area so unique. The BID’s vision is to create a welcoming and distinctive location for all to shop, visit, experience and enjoy, and being awarded city status will certainly help bolster these core aims whilst benefitting everyone locally.”

Whilst the number of awards to be made has not been stipulated, the UK Government has encouraged local authorities across the four regions of the UK to enter the competition and make a case for why their area is worthy of one of these honours.

All valid entries will receive individual consideration on their merits, before overall recommendations are made by ministers to the Queen.

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