Ballygally hall lease is ‘with council solicitors’

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BALLYGALLY man Jim McCurdy said this week he has received confirmation that the village community development association (BCDA) does not have a lease for the community hall which was completed last summer.

The former BCDA chairman, who is no longer a member of the community group, has been engaged in a quest since the turn of the year to ascertain if the leasing agreement with Larne Borough Council has been signed and sealed.

The council allowed construction of the hall and a village shop in the local authority-owned public car park adjacent to Ballygally Castle Hotel.

In reply to a Freedom of Information request, the council stated that the lease was with its solicitors.

Not satisfied with the response, Mr McCurdy wrote to Dr Ian Lansingh, chairman of BCDA Ltd, the company formed to run the social enterprise scheme which provided Ballygally with a long-awaited community facility, financed by rental from the Spar shop which is sub-let to Grahame Todd.

Mr McCurdy asked if a lease had been signed “by all concerned” and enquired if it had been presented to Land Registry, thereby transferring ownership of the building to the limited company.

“The reply I received in a letter dated April 19 from the BCDA Ltd chairman was that BCDA’s solicitors were still waiting for the lease to be returned from the council’s solicitors, despite representations by letter and by telephone,” said Mr McCurdy.

“At long last, I have got an answer to my question regarding: Does BCDA Ltd have a lease? The answer is No,” he added.

The issue was raised in the council recently, when members were informed that BCDA Ltd has a temporary lease and that the delay in signing the permanent document was due to re-writing of articles of association to the satisfaction of both parties.