An end is finally in sight for Coalisland’s former police station, once dubbed the ‘ugliest building in Northern Ireland’, with the news that it is to be torn down.
Work has begun on removing the protective metal grills and hoarding around the ‘eyesore’ building, which has lain derelict for almost a decade and blighted the town it once served.
It had been hoped that the station would be demolished shortly after its closure was announced. However, problems over the relocation of a mast used by emergency services delayed the sale, which eventually took place in 2010.
Further obstacles delayed the development of the site, which has been earmarked for affordable social housing.
Sinn Fein Councillor Dominic Molloy welcomed the news of the demolition, saying that it removed ‘an eyesore’ from the centre of Coalisland.
“This will be welcome news to local people as it tidies up the derelict site and will provide affordable social housing in an area where there are great housing pressures.
“We are constantly pushing for more social housing in Coalisland and Dungannon as given the rapid population growth and projected increases this will continue to be a major problem.
“Hopefully, the town centre will be allowed to return to what it once was, and new life breathed into it.”
The derelict site has caused traffic congestion and been blamed for adversely affecting the commercial life of the town.
Over the years, the station was extended onto the pavement, obstructing plans for a right-hand turning lane. It also blocked sight lines due to its jutting design and generally led to traffic problems in that area.
Habinteg Housing Association, who are behind the development, anticipate being on site for approximately 15 months.
A spokesperson for the association said: “The development will comprise 18 attractively designed, two bedroom apartments.
“We are delighted to be developing the site to provide much needed housing for Coalisland and, at the same time, positively address an area of the town which has long drawn negative publicity.”