Kelly: Antrim ratepayers deserve better Sunday opening hours

Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly has claimed Antrim ratepayers remain disadvantaged, as he again raised the issue of Sunday opening hours.

With key service facilities – including the Antrim Forum and recycling centre – remaining closed during peak times, the local Councillor added residents were losing out compared to those living close to the Valley in Newtownabbey or Sixmilewater in Ballyclare.

Councillor Neil Kelly said: “The lack of consistency across the borough is unacceptable.

“I have been raising this issue for the last five years and fail to see why the ratepayer in Antrim continues to receive a reduced service at some facilities from the new Super Council than the ratepayer in Newtownabbey.

“For example, the recycling centre in Newtownabbey is open all day Sunday, yet the gates in Antrim remain firmly shut and when it comes to fitness centres, ratepayers across Newtownabbey and Ballyclare can use their local centres from 9am on a Sunday, yet in Antrim Forum users are restricted until 2pm.

“The time to address this was when the two Councils merged, yet still we are operating a divided service with the public keen to see change. The outcome of a survey carried out at the recycling centre a number of years ago showed clearly ratepayers n Antrim want to see a change to Sunday opening.

“Yet Antrim Councillors voted against the public will, preferring to protect their own agenda. Local Government reform has come and gone and during this time opening hours remain unchanged, despite a special committee set up to ensure a smooth transition into one Council.

“We are now one council and if arrangements were in place to facilitate early opening and Sunday opening in Newtownabbey then we as a council should be able to make this happen right across the Borough to provide equitable services to everyone no matter where they live.

“I will continue to raise this issue and work on behalf of the ratepayer until we achieve services that are not only value for money but equitable and fair for everyone across all of our new council area.”

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