DUP councillor ‘totally opposed’ to any possibility of alcohol being advertised at Council-owned pitches

A DUP councillor says he is ‘totally opposed’ to any possibility of alcohol being advertised at football pitches owned by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council.

Cullybackey councillor Tommy Nicholl urged fellow councillors ‘to be mindful in this regard’.

Alderman Tommy Nicholl MBE

 

The comments were recorded in minutes of a council meeting at which councillors discussed a new advertising policy.

Among pitches owned by the Council is Ballymena Showgrounds.

In the past concerns were expressed about drink and the Ballymena Showgrounds.

Rock group ELO was banned by Ballymena councillors from the Showgrounds in the early 1990s in a story which made world-wide headlines.

Roy Gillespie, a DUP councillor at the time, reportedly said: “Rock music is mostly known by the four D’s: devil, drinking, drugs and debauchery.”

At a recent meeting Mid & East Antrim Council’s Director of Operations, Philip Thompson, spoke to councillors about a review of their sports pitches advertising policy.

Mr Thompson said approval was being sought to commence a consultation with football clubs in Ballymena in order to review the existing policy on advertising at council-owned sports pitches.

He said the former Ballymena Borough Council had a policy whereby no permanent advertising could be put up around Council-owned sports pitches.

Mr Thompson said if the policy was reviewed sports clubs could actively seek sponsorship and any income would be split 50/50 between the council and clubs.

It would help provide income for the clubs and also assist the council in maintaining and developing facilities, councillors were told.

 

Mr Thompson recommended that the council commence a consultation process with users of sports pitches in Ballymena, as a pilot scheme, and subsequently review their policy with a view to introducing a new policy which would enable advertising boards to be erected.

Deputy-Mayor, Councillor Beth Adger (DUP), queried what type of advertising would be permitted, eg alcohol beverages, car sales, etc.

Minutes of the Council meeting state: ‘It was noted restrictions could be put in place within the Policy regarding what could be put in place within the Policy regarding what could and could not be included with Sports Pitches advertising’.

Cllr Timothy Gaston (TUV) agreed with the need for a consultation process and.

He said that 75 per cent of the revenue generated from advertising could be given to the clubs and 25 per cent to the Council and he believed local businesses would support the clubs receiving a bigger percentage of the funds.

Councillors at the committee meeting agreed to recommend that the Council goes out to consultation and awaits the results before introducing a policy to enable advertising boards to be erected or deciding upon any income percentage split.

A report is due to come back to councillors in August.

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