Ballymena’s B&Q to close

Ballymena’s B&Q store is to close by the end of 2016, owners the Kingfisher group have announced.

In a statement issued today (Tuesday), they said staff had been informed of the decision this morning.

They also pointed out that Screwfix is part of the Kingfisher group and will continue to have a store in Ballymena.

Commenting on the news, TUV leader Jim Allister said he was “saddened” by the announcement.

“My immediate thoughts are with the employees who will be greatly impacted by the loss of this store, and over the next 15 months I hope every effort will be made by B&Q to assist them move forward,” he said.

“Big companies leaving Ballymena with the inevitable loss of jobs is not a good news story. There is a big hole to fill, and I hope other retailers will show interest in taking on the site and create new jobs.”

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Deputy Mayor, Cllr Timothy Gaston said: “I was absolutely shocked to hear this from a major UK retailer such as B&Q. My heartfelt sympathies are with the employees and their families as they come to terms with the closure in 2016.

“Ballymena is a vibrant town, and one which is open for business. I will play my part to attract new businesses in and I hope a new retailer will come forward to plug this substantial gap.”