Board to sell old police colleges sites

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THE NI Policing Board has agreed to sell their current training facilities to help finance the new £140m college at Cookstown.

The college at Garnerville in East Belfast and Steeple in Antrim are to be sold to part finance the construction of the new college at Desertcreat.

Board Chair Brian Rea said: “The Board fully supports the development of the new Public Services Training College at Desertcreat and the receipts from the sale of the sites at Garnerville and Steeple form a key part of the business case for its development.

“This is without doubt a very exciting project which will when completed deliver modern training facilities for policing and a centre of excellence for learning and development. It will also provide opportunities for joint training with other services and within the wider public sector.

“At this point in time construction on the new college is due to commence in October 2012 with a completion date of Summer 2015. In order to ensure continuity in the PSNI’s training provision the disposals of the sites agreed today will be timed to coincide with the opening of the new college.”

The new Public Service Training College at Desertcreat will be a tripartite partnership between the PSNI, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

The PSNI along with representatives of NIFRS and NIPS, has now begun the process of planning both the facilities to be provided and the migration of training services to this new site. Board Members will receive a briefing on the college project at its September meeting.

Under the disposal of surplus public sector property guidelines, the property must be offered to the public sector initially and thereafter placed on the open market if no sustainable interest is received within the public sector.

The projected cost of the college project is £140m. In the 2011-2015 budget statement the Finance Minister confirmed that the Executive have agreed to provide an extra £30 million for the Desertcreat training college.