Alliance Deputy Leader joins shop protest

East Belfast Alliance MLA and Deputy Leader Naomi Long this morning attended a protest aimed at keeping a row of shops, including a newsagent, chip shop, fruit and vegetable shop, hairdressers, alarm business and bakery, open in the centre of Ballyhackamore. She expressed her support for the traders and said that the impact of closure on Ballyhackamore’s

other traders and residents would be huge. The row of shops, owned by Lord Eames, is up for sale and the shop owners’ bid to purchase them has not yet been accepted.

Naomi Long said: “I, along with other local residents, am extremely concerned by the prospect of these shops being sold, potentially for redevelopment. They are at the heart of Ballyhackamore village and are the centre of the shopping area, providing not just convenience, but quality personal service to local people. Their closure would not just result

in the owners potentially losing their livelihoods, but would lead to the

loss of over 40 jobs and would undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on other

local business in the area.

“Today’s protest, which was attended by around 100 people, shows the strength of local support that exists for the shopkeepers. Whilst the site has a financial value to the owner, today shows the real value of these shops as the heart of the local community. I hope that a satisfactory agreement can be reached so that these shops can remain open.”


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