The Desertcreat Community Safety College took another step in the right direction on Tuesday as the business case for the training college was given the green light.
This now means that the next step can be taken to approve the preferred bidder with a view to work finally beginning on the site at Desertcreat in early Spring next year.
The announcement was welcomed by DUP MLA Ian McCrea and Sinn Fein Mid-Ulster MP Francie Molloy and MLA’s.
Mr McCrea said: “I am delighted to receive confirmation today from party colleague and Finance Minster Simon Hamilton MLA that his department have approved the addendum to the business case for the Desertcreat College.
“This is a welcome step and now allows the tendering process to be completed and a preferred bidder appointed, which should hopefully see the construction commence in the New Year.
“I have been working with everyone involved in this training college to overcome any delays and again I hope this latest announcement dispels any fears regarding the future of the Northern Ireland Community Safety College coming to Desertcreat and I trust that it is now clear that this world class facility will become a reality.”
In a joint statement from Sinn Fein, Mid-Ulster MP Francie Molloy and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Sinn Féin has been pro actively working to redress decades of inequality and under-investment in Mid-Ulster. The announcement about Desertcreat is a great confidence boost for our civic and economic community.
“We have been working closely with local MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, and he has been heavily influential in unblocking some of the problems faced by Desertcreat in recent months.
“Work on the construction phase and on future service provision at the College must now be focused on ensuring that we create maximum economic and employment opportunities for hard-pressed local companies and communities – particularly
the unemployed. There is a wealth of local skill and talent in our local trade and construction sector who have suffered significantly over the past several years of economic downturn. Let’s harness that skill without delay.”