COUNCIL BID FOR ABBEY
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
COUNCIL has submitted a bid to buy land at the site of the former Abbey Grammar, the Democrat can reveal.
Sealed envelope bids for the nine acres, including the football fields, closed on Friday. In response to a Democrat request for confirmation that it entered the bidding process, a council spokesperson said it has "submitted a conditional offer, subject to approval of full council and the Statutory Transition Committee".
“The council has previously stated its interest in acquiring the site for public use," the spokesperson added.
Whoever wins ownership of the sprawling site - the last large green field development site in Newry city centre - will also, according to adverts, have the option of buying "additional adjoining lands".
Commenting on Facebook on Friday, Newry Town councillor Brendan Curran - who has fought a vocal campaign to see the site transformed into a local amenity since the school's move was first mooted more than a decade ago - slammed the situation as a slap in the face for the local community.
Describing the sale of the land as terrible news, the Sinn Fein man claimed it was "our forefathers and mothers who paid for this ground in the first place".
“Shame on them," he added in reference to those behind the sale.
The 9.19 acre site, described as suitable for the development of a range of uses is zoned in Newry and Mourne Area Plan 2015 as a Development Opportunity Site. The same document however, also stipulates: "Retail use would not be envisaged in this area."
Included in key site requirements stipulated in the Area Plan are that any proposed development should include "a minimum of 14 dwellings, provide for the retention of that part of the existing Abbey Primary school building that is listed and have regard to the site's proximity to the Conservation Area, its upstanding and buried archaeological remains and features of historical interest".
It's further stipulated that Transport Assessment takes place and includes "an examination of the capability of the local road network to cater for any development proposal, including access provision and junction improvements".
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