Community Safety College at Desertcreat ‘still remains viable’

Desertcreat College
Desertcreat College

The final design scheme for the stalled Northern Ireland Community Safety College at Desertcreat should be signed off within the next two weeks.

That is according to the members of the Northern Ireland Community Safety College (NICSC) Programme Board.

The entire project hit it’s biggest stumbling block so far earlier this year when preferred bidders FGP consortium said they would be unable to build the college within the budget set by the Assembly.

In an update to the Department of Justice at the beginning of July, the Programme Board explained how the findings of an extensive eight-week review, provided the NICSC Programme Board with confidence that the project remains viable and achievable.

The Programme Board explained that a new project which began at the beginning of July, expected to take eight weeks will enable them to sign-off on the final design scheme and finalise the entire package.

Once these steps have been completed, the board say: “We will re-engage with DFP and HM Treasury to confirm affordability.

“Executive approval will then be sought before incurring any further substantial spend on the project.

“Executive approval and endorsement at this stage will be a key factor in ensuring market confidence.”

UUP MLA for Mid-Ulster recently questioned the NI Executive over their commitment to delivering the training college at Desertcreat.

Mrs Overend said: “After recent media reports casting doubts on the delivery of the Northern Ireland Community Safety College at Desertcreat, I met with the Director of the College Programme Board, Dr Bryan Gregory, last month to see exactly where the project stood.

“I also wrote to the Chief Constable, asking him to reaffirm the PSNI’s commitment to siting the facility at Desertcreat.

“As I said last month, I was pleased that Dr Gregory was able to report that following a value engineering exercise, costs had been deemed to be within budget tolerance levels, and I now have received, through correspondence with the new Chief Constable, confirmation from the PSNI that, following this comprehensive review, they remain committed to the delivery of the college at Desertcreat.

“The future of the site is now in the hands of the Executive, and I will continue to put pressure on them to ensure that this Programme for Government commitment is met, and ensure that this much needed state of the art facility is completed.

“The people of Cookstown and the surrounding areas have long looked forward to the economic benefits this project will bring.

“When it comes before the Executive I would urge them to deliver on this long-awaited project and give it their final approval.”