Council still keen on police station site for hub project.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Council still keen on police station site for hub project. thumbnail

PLANS for a community hub in Warrenpoint appear to be back on track - several years after the ambitious project was first suggested.

Recently Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has publicly announced its interest in acquiring the former PSNI station in Warrenpoint to transform it into a community hub for the area.

The idea of a community hub in the town has been earmarked for some time. The former Newry and Mourne District Council had completed an economic appraisal for its development, which they had hoped would include a community centre, a library, a health centre and a facility for police.

Council expressed an interest in the PSNI site last year after its closure was confirmed and began to work with Department of Communities officials to investigate the possibility of partnership working when the site was available.

However, a year on council is still waiting for the site to be decommissioned and closed for disposal.

At a recent Active and Healthy Communities Committee meeting, councillors were informed that in June this year, the PSNI confirmed there was a delay in the station's disposal due to "the relocation of the telecom mast".

"PSNI Estates Services confirmed that they have a requirement to relocate the radio mast within the town first before they can decommission and close the station for disposal. At present there is a live planning application in to site share at the harbour," councillors were informed.

Once the mast is transferred over to the new site, the station can be decommissioned.

The PSNI has noted Newry, Mourne and Down District Council's interest in the site and confirmed they will be highlighted on the forms and covering letters to Land and Property Services.

Fourteen months ago, council received confirmation that one of the surgeries in the town was withdrawing interest in the community hub proposal. Confirmation is still outstanding from Education Authority and Libraries NI on a partnership with council .

Councillor Mickey Ruane said council is "committed to this project".

"This is something that the council has been pursuing for a number of years," said the Sinn Fein Crotlieve councillor.

"Hopefully in the next number of months we will get into the negotiations on this site as we recognise there is a need for a community centre in Warrenpoint."

Council, while waiting for the PSNI site to be decommissioned, plans on reconvening meetings with agencies to update on progress and reaffirm support for the initiative.

The project is not currently included within the council's capital programme.


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