Belfast Telegraph

Michelin seeking ideas for future use of Ballymena base

By Margaret Canning

Tyre giant Michelin, which is pulling out of its Co Antrim site after nearly 50 years with the loss of 860 jobs, is asking the public for ideas over the future use of the premises.

The company announced two years ago that it was shutting in Ballymena in 2018 due to a fall in demand for its truck tyres and the growth of competition from Chinese imports.

A spokeswoman said there would be a phased shutdown with full closure by the middle of next year.

Now the French company is holding a consultation day at the Braid Centre in the town on September 26 (12-8pm) on "creating a positive legacy for Ballymena" and ask for views on what should become of the Raceview Road site.

The event has been advertised in newspapers in the area and is described as a "consultation for the local community and residents on the future of the Michelin site".

It's being organised by commercial property agents CBRE.

A spokeswoman for Michelin said: "Michelin wants to help create a positive legacy for the Ballymena site, which is why CBRE is running this consultation event on our behalf.

"It is an opportunity for the community to tell CBRE what they would like to see happen to the site and we believe that is an important part of the transition."

Lisa McAteer, director of CBRE, said: "The Michelin factory provides a fantastic opportunity for continued future investment and regeneration in Ballymena and the wider catchment area.

"The site has great future potential for development for a wide range of uses such as residential, leisure and mixed-use schemes, as well as healthcare and science and technology."

Michelin's announcement in 2015 was the second setback for the town's economy after the closure was announced a year earlier of the JT Gallaher cigarette factory, where 800 people were employed.

Gallaher's former site on the Galgorm Road has been bought over for expansion by the town's bus builder, Wrightbus.

Belfast Telegraph