Alderman Gerry Mullan expressed his confusion at a meeting of the Causeway Coast and Glens Council Environment Services Committee last week when councillors discussed the extension of trading concessions to include a butcher’s at Benone Beach and tea and coffee facilities at Megaw Park, Ballymoney.
“ I’m left scratching my head,” said alderman Mullan. “Where does a butcher’s fit in at Benone Beach complex?
“ I don’t think it’s appropriate and I’m very sceptical about this. There are other local retailers in the area who are trying to earn a living in very scant times so I’m reserving my judgement on this.”
Aidan McPeak, Director of Environment Services responded: “From my understanding there is a need.
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“There is no shop on any of the caravan sites out there that sells meat products so you are talking about travelling into town if you are staying on the caravan parks.
“The butchers would be a mobile business set up in a similar way to an ice cream van. It is up to Council as to whether they want to allow it.”
Councillor George Duddy said: “I would also be in agreement with Alderman Mullan. I don’t see where it fits in and I would be concerned it would detract from the complex and set the wrong precedent.
“As sure as night follows day you’ll have someone else wanting to come in and set up something else. I certainly wouldn’t be in favour of that.”
Referring to the Megaw Park concession, Mr. McPeak told the meeting: “We recently offered a ice cream vendor a position there and it seems to be a success.
“ There are no other tea and coffee facilities within that area and we received a request. This may be something you want to hold back on and look at come the start of the new financial year for next summer.”
Entering the debate again, councillor Duddy said: “This is what I was afraid of. You give concession to an ice cream van and then you end up going round in circles with some of the traders. I propose we don’t go ahead with it at this particular moment in time .
Councillor Duddy proposed not proceed with the concessions but to look again at them next year was seconded by councillor Richard Holmes.
A recommendation by alderman Sam Cole to accept the proposals, seconded by councillor Douglas, was carried.