Housing plan for former PSNI Station site

THE site of the former police station in Castlederg could be transformed into a new housing development, the Tyrone Constitution has learned.

The now vacant station - located on Castlefin Road at the entrance to the town - was decommissioned in 2013 and was then put up for sale.

It has emerged that the Housing Executive has now expressed an interest in developing the site for social housing.

The disposal of the station, alongside two other border stations in Aughnacloy and Warrenpoint, was initially halted in 2018 due to uncertainty presented by Brexit.

Last September the PSNI confirmed it was back on the market due to the "changing circumstances" of the UK's exit from the EU, with an internal trawl initiated among public sector bodies.

The housing plan was disclosed by Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey, in response to a written Assembly question by West Tyrone MLA., Daniel McCrossan.

He had asked the Minister if her department had expressed an interest in acquiring the site.

"The site at the former Castlederg PSNI Station, 5 Castlefin Road, Castlederg, was trawled through the Public Sector Surplus Land Trawl on March 24," Ms Hargey said.

"The Housing Executive expressed an interest to develop the site for social housing.

"Apex Housing Association were subsequently nominated to progress the site and are currently in the process of carrying out their own feasibility studies.

"Derry City and Strabane District Council have expressed an interest in a potential collaborative approach with Apex Housing for a housing led regeneration plan for the site."

The Minister said Apex is "keen to explore this opportunity further" and are in the process of arranging meetings with council to discuss the potential for a joint approach.

She added: "Within the context of the Community Plan the Housing Executive is also working with Derry City and Strabane District Council to look at options for the redevelopment of the site.

"This will include the provision of social/affordable housing."

SDLP Derg councillor Steven Edwards has welcomed the latest development and says he hopes it paves the way for the full revitalisation of a site that has been a stain on the town for far too long.

“This is hugely positive news that both Apex Housing and DCSDC have shown a joint interest in the site," he commented.

"This site has been a stain on the Castlederg High Street for far too long and I hope this latest development results in the full dismantling and repurposing of the site which will be of massive benefit to Castlederg.

“Over the last two years I have been constantly lobbying the PSNI regarding this site and the need for it to be re-purposed following closure a number of years ago.

"I am glad that my lobbying efforts and those of my colleague Daniel McCrossan MLA, are finally paying off."

Councillor Edwards added: "This is a strategic site in Castlederg, one that needs to be developed and one that has the potential to significantly contribute to the local area and people.

“I would welcome future social homes in the site in addition to some revitalisation from a council perspective.

"In terms of council, I’m aware that the site is being scoped out but this is at a very early stage.

"I imagine Apex Housing are the same and I look forward to meeting with them in the very near future."

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