THE pedestrianised Greenvale Street in Ballymena town centre has emerged as the proposed venue for a Christmas Market to be held on several days this December.
News of the market emerged earlier in the week but now ‘Ballymena Daily’ can reveal that Greenvale Street – a key pedestrian route linking the Tower Centre and the Fairhill shopping centres – is the preferred location.
Mid & East Borough Council officials are working in partnership with Ballymena BID (Business Improvement District) on the Greenvale Street plan.
Officials say there is a “priority focus on town centre recovery” and the proposal is to run a “Christmas Artisan Market in Greenvale Street”.
It is understood the market will be managed by an experienced market provider “who will ensure all relevant Covid-19 regulations and restrictions are adhered to,” according to those in the know.
A source said the plan is for “a small number of wooden huts and pop up gazebos to allow for social distancing” and pedestrian flows would be maintained at the street.
It is understood the offerings at the market will be tailored so it doesn’t “impact negatively” on businesses in the vicinity.
It is proposed to run the market on several dates in December.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “We are committed to the health, wellbeing and economic prosperity of our residents and businesses at all times.
“This is especially relevant as we guide our way through a global pandemic and consider all options to support those living and working in the borough.
“Mid & East Antrim Borough Council through the Town Centre Recovery Group is focused on supporting the local town centre businesses during these challenging times.
“As part of the town centre recovery and with the emphasis on ‘shopping local’, Council is finalising plans for Christmas Markets in Carrickfergus, Larne and Ballymena during December.
“The Markets will give local businesses and services an economic boost and also help raise the spirits of the community, giving everyone a much-needed boost during these difficult times.
“Due to ongoing Covid considerations, the Christmas Artisan and Craft Markets, while traditional in spirit, will operate in strict accordance with all Public Health Agency Guidelines and will be under constant review throughout its development and duration.
“The Council has commissioned Urban Market NI to manage the markets in all three locations.
“Social distancing measures will be in place, sanitising stations will be located throughout, and face masks must be worn at all times.
“Council will continue to monitor the coronavirus infection rate and reassess the safety measures in place in line with current legislation.
“Local market traders specialising in artisan and craft who are interested in a having a stall should contact firstname.lastname@example.org before the 30 October.
“To adhere to social distancing requirements there will be limited availability, and eligibility criteria will apply,” the spokesperson had said.