SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty MLA has welcomed the publication of plans on the proposed redevelopment of Bessbrook Mill.
The plans will see the creation of a mixed-use development of residential and commercial units in the historic old mill site.
Once home to one of the busiest heliports in the world, with helicopters taking off and landing every eight minutes, there had been plans to develop 272 homes, offices, a play park and parkland on the expansive Bessbrook Mill site that the army left in 2007.
But the local council has confirmed that planning permission for such a development lapsed in early 2007.
Mr McNulty said, ‘This development will transform the village of Bessbrook and the wider Newry and South Armagh area. The proposal will see much needed residential accommodation in the area.’
‘This is a historic building and any redevelopment must be sympathetic to the building, the local environment as well as the views and aspirations of the local community. Whilst today is only the start of the application process with the submission of the Pre Application Notice, there are many opportunities for the community to have their views heard and I would encourage that. This is normally a twelve week process before the application is actually submitted and I firmly believe that every avenue must be explored to ensure the views of the local community are heard, and that includes extending the consultation period if necessary.’
‘This is an exciting proposal for this historic site and for the whole community. The character of the historic model village of Bessbrook must be protected and respected. It is crucial that the developers make every effort to address any concerns of local residents, businesses and historical and heritage societies.’