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Ballymena puts city bid on hold

Ballymena Borough Council has pulled the plug on plans to bid for city status.

The Co Antrim town had been set to throw its hat into the ring in the hope of being bestowed the illustrious tag as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee next year.

But at a meeting council chiefs said the venture was too costly with a potential spend of £30,000 predicted.

Ballymena was set to go head-to-head with towns across the UK for the honour including Bolton and Milton Keynes. One UK town will be granted city status to mark the jubilee in 2012.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jnr had persuaded Secretary of State Owen Paterson, who was in Ballymena recently for the homecoming parade of the Royal Irish Regiment, to fight the busy shopping town's corner.

Prime Minister David Cameron had also pledged to look at Ballymena's bid, which has been put on hold due to the economic climate.

Mr Paisley said: "You can never be certain but I believe Ballymena will be in a better position the next time it comes around."

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