Ballymena residents to have their say over future of Michelin site

Local people are being asked to attend a community engagement event regarding the future of the Michelin tyre factory which is to close in 2018 with the loss of 860 jobs. Picture Mal McCann

BALLYMENA residents are to have their say over the future of the town's Michelin site at a community engagement event in the town later this month.

The site spans 69 acres and is due to cease its tyre production in 2018.

In November 2015 the French-headquartered company said it was closing its operations and would "run down" the manufacturing plant by mid-2018 as part of a restructuring plan.

The move, which coincided with investment in the firm's facilities in Dundee and Stoke-on-Trent, was the second blow for Ballymena workers after the JTI Gallaher tobacco factory said it was closing its local base by 2017 with the loss of around 870 jobs.

Michelin management had been warning for a number of years that high-energy costs were making production increasingly unsustainable at the Ballymena base which will close next year with the total loss of 860 jobs.

Now, members of the local community are being asked for their input into the site's future development by commercial property agency CBRE which has organised the event at Braid Arts Centre on Tuesday September 26 (noon-8pm).

Lisa McAteer, director at 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.

"We are fully committed to delivering the best possible outcome for the community through the consultation process of the Michelin site, and welcome the public's valuable input."

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