Mid Ulster District Council is to begin consultation on a proposed business park development in Maghera.
The council is proposing to develop the former high school site to create up to eight serviced sites, with qualifying businesses constructing their own purpose-built facilities ranging in size from 4,000 sq feet to 20,000 sq ft.
The development is understood to be the first of its kind to be spearheaded by a local council in Northern Ireland.
Last month the Mail highlighted the re-development of the 20 acre site off the Tobermore Road.
Ulster Unionist councillor George Shiels, who is from Maghera, said the business park had the potential of creating 1000 jobs.
Councillor Shiels, who has been closely involved from its inception, said the site was perfect for attracting a range of industrial units.
He stressed the employment benefits not only for the immediate Maghera area, but for Mid Ulster Council as a whole.
The council has now submitted a ‘Proposal of Application Notice’ (PAN), signalling its intention to apply for planning permission on the site after a period of 12 week community consultation takes place.
Sinn Féin Chair of the Council, Councillor Sean McPeake, has welcomed progress towards the creation of a mixed-use site, earmarked to address a gap in the availability of industrial land locally and to meet an identified demand from local businesses.
“This is a strategically important site which will allow existing businesses to expand and new businesses to locate here, helping to sustain jobs and drive growth.
“The Council owns the land and is uniquely positioned to manage its development as a business park.
“This proposal is a milestone in the Council’s on-going commitment both to support investment in our economy and to invest directly in it, and a first for local government here”.
Another staunch advocate of the proposal is SDLP Councillor Martin Kearney who described it as the “jewel in the crown” for industry in Mid Ulster area.
“It’s a landmark project which is badly needed in south Derry and has a lot of potential,” he said. Community consultation on the proposals begins with drop-in information sessions on Wednesday June 27 in Maghera Leisure Centre from 12 noon to 5pm followed by a public meeting at 5pm. To view details of the Proposal of Application Notice for the former school site visit www.midulstercouncil.org/magheraPAN.