Concerns over Cookstown police and fire college were legitimate - Overend

An aerial view of the proposed training college at Desertcreat.
An aerial view of the proposed training college at Desertcreat.

Mid Ulster MLA Sandra Overend has said concerns raised over the future of the police and fire training college at Desertcreat, were legitimate.

Responding to a statement from her DUP counterpart Ian McCrea last week, Mrs Overend said she welcomed the DUP Health Minister’s apparent commitment to signing off on the complex, but said she questioned why it has taken him so long to get to this point.

“I read with interest comments from DUP representatives this week, stating their commitment to pushing forward the Desertcreat project, and attacking those that asked legitimate questions about delays with it as ‘scaremongering’.

“I recently expressed genuine concerns that nearly two years down the line from Desertcreat being given the green light as the site for the Northern Ireland Community Safety College, and nearly ten years on from the initial announcement of the project, that a start date has still not been announced for the commencement of construction.

“Work was due to begin this year, but nearing the end of 2013, the go-ahead for work to start has yet to be given, with a considerable sum of money already spent on maintenance of the site in advance of building work.”

She added: “Media coverage also revealed that the Minister of Justice shared these concerns. Indeed I tabled Assembly Questions to him asking to outline the outstanding approvals needed before work commences at Desertcreat and about a commencement date for the work. I also asked the Health Minister about his support for the project and when he hoped to make final approval on it.”

She added: “I urge all Executive Ministers with responsibilities here to ensure that any unsettled issues are resolved without delay so that work can begin as soon as possible.”