Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena 'Klingon spaceship' bandstand cost over £450k

The modern structure has been compared to a spaceship
The modern structure has been compared to a spaceship

A controversial new Ballymena bandstand, compared by local residents to something out of Star Trek, cost over £450k.

The 'Harmony hub' replaced a bandstand that occupied Broadway in the centre of the town.

The new copper-clad structure, likened to a spaceship by some, cost £463,000.

A freedom of information request from retired solicitor Lyle Cubitt revealed the total figure.

The Ballymena Guardian has reported that the overall cost for the 'Broadyway Scheme' was £462,957.61, despite an original tender/contract price of £243,924.

New contractors were commissioned by the council after the original contractors, TAL, went into administration in 2017.

A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokesperson said that council's contribution to the scheme was £189,000, with two-thirds of the funding coming from central government.

"We were unable to provide a full breakdown of individual costs previously as the works were ongoing and costs were subject to commercial sensitivity," the spokesperson said.

"Harmony Hub has proved extremely successful since installed, and has created a real hub of activity and a buzz for shoppers from Ballymena and further afield to enjoy.

"Recently, independent data showed that footfall figures increased by 6.9% in Ballymena town centre in the first half of 2019.

The 'Harmony Hub' name was selected by Hollywood actor Liam Neeson following a competition organised by the council in partnership with schools throughout the area".

When the design of the bandstand was originally unveiled it met with a mixed reception.

A survey of local opinion about the new bandstand hosted by the 'Love Ballymena' community Facebook page attracted more than 1,000 comments, few of them favourable.

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