Belfast Telegraph

Firms are forced to quit Bangor business centre for new super council

By Lesley Houston

North Down Borough Council has defended its decision to oust two long-standing occupants from a business centre in Bangor to allow the chief of the soon-to-merge North Down and Ards councils to move in.

One businessman who rents his premises at Signal Business Centre from North Down council said the request caused "inconvenience" and would result in extra costs, such as stationery with new letterheads.

The businessman, who declined to be named, said he had received a letter from the council landlord on May 21, informing him of the imminent changes.

He said he believed the council should be able to accommodate the new chief executive, Stephen Reid, who formerly occupied the same post at Castlereagh Borough Council, in a council-owned building other than the Balloo Road business offices. He said: "We received a letter stating that new council structures required increased office space and that Signal will have to lose some of the businesses.

"They are putting businesses out but there are loads of buildings they could move into instead. It will mean all our letterheads and logos and business cards will have to be changed," he said.

"They should have given us to until the end of July at least," he said.

But the council said the move was necessary to accommodate the changes to its former structure within a period of "exceptional change".

"It was not possible to accommodate the new council in either of the existing HQ buildings for North Down or Ards Borough Councils, hence the use of the Signal Centre."

The council added: "Initial accommodation requirements have increased in the past month as the pace of change in the reform process has increased and, as a result, it was necessary for North Down Borough Council to issue two businesses at Signal with notice of the termination of their licence agreements on Monday, 19 May.

"Both businesses have received six weeks written notice to vacate the premises – an additional two weeks over the calendar month notice required in their agreement."

The council said both businesses had been told that alternative office space had been identified nearby and that help was being provided with relocation.

It said it regretted "the necessity to end the licence agreements".

Belfast Telegraph