Park action group 'taking their campaign to the school gates'

Former Maghera High School which the local Council want to redevelop.
Former Maghera High School which the local Council want to redevelop.

A group opposing plans by Mid Ulster District Council to redevelop the former Maghera High School site as an industrial park, are planning to hold a public protest tomorrow.

Maghera Park Action Group (MPAG) say their 'Hands Up For Maghera Park' will take place at the gates of the former school on the Tobermore Road on Saturday at 1pm.

More than 1,200 people have lodged objections for plans to create a number of industrial units at the site.

A spokesperson for the MPAG said: "In ignoring the level of feeling demonstrated in the past year, it has has become clear that the Council are unwilling to listen to the huge voice of support from Maghera people for the development of their old High School grounds as a public park.

"When we encounter something that we’re about to lose and discover how much we care about it and what potential it has to benefit the whole community, a lightbulb goes on.

"Those seeking to trade our dream for profit have turned closed ears to our reasoning. Politicians have suddenly lost their ability to engage with any great understanding of our community's need, preferring to tell us what we're going to get. Channels of debate have clogged up.

"However, we are turning resolve into action. We're gathering at the gates of our old High school at 1pm on Saturday to show support for our Park Campaign. We're urging folk to delay the run to the Coast.

"Bring the family. Walk down with your neighbour. Bring a friend. This is our opportunity to show the Council we care deeply about this site, and that our community being front and centre in having a say in the future physical shape of our Town. This is part of OUR Town, not the Council's to sell."

Mid Ulster District Council has consulted with the residents on the redevelopment plans, which it says will attract investment and new jobs.

A spokesperson said: "The planning application for the proposed Business Park is currently sitting with planning awaiting decision."