Ballymena church complex plan decision likely to be deferred

Plans for the Gateway Project
Plans for the Gateway Project

A meeting will be held at Ballymena Borough Council this week to determine the future of a 97-acre church complex in the town which is backed by the Wrightbus company.

Last night a spokeswoman for Green Pastures Church, which is behind the plans, confirmed that planning permission for the £10m project had been largely passed, but had been withheld over a “key” part of the project – a supermarket which is intended to be the economic driver behind the complex.

Some 29 objections have been lodged, mainly by retailers, the church spokeswoman said.

However, the church remains “positive” about the plans, as planners have passed the bulk of the project, which aims to create almost 1,000 permanent jobs.

The church believes it “essential” that further discussions are had on such an important development as the refused element “is key to the viability or the overall proposal,” she added.

Ballymena DUP councillor Beth Adger said the issue would come before the council this Thursday and would likely result in deferring any decision in favour of an office meeting.

“This would likely see planners, the applicant and councillors come together to see if there are any other options,” she said.