The development of the former Maghera High School site took a major step forward when Mid-Ulster Council approved the purchase by Magherafelt District Council for £400,000.
The site off Tobermore Road consists of about 24 acres of prime industrial land on the outskirts of Maghera, adjacent to both the main A6 and A29 roads.
It contains the former area of the actual school site along with a range of pitches and playing fields. The school was closed back in 2009 and pupils transferred to the High School in Magherafelt.
There can be little doubt that the acquisition of this site, given its prime location and development potential, would represent a significant and valuable additional asset to the Mid-Ulster Council.
Speaking afterwards local SDLP Councillor Martin Kearney expressed his delight at this approval.
“Since becoming a Councillor a year ago for Carntogher there is one item which the Maghera businesses, Development Association, community leaders and constituents have constantly flagged up – the need to develop this site,” he said.
“There are many obstacles to overcome in the local area, limited employment opportunities, significant social deprivation and in particular the demise of the construction industry.
“Hopefully, this development now marks a turning point. I commend those Magherafelt councillors and council officials for their vision and foresight over the last three years to press for the acquisition of this prime site.
“It sits alongside a thriving centre of industrial development at present, The Business Park, which already employs approximately 140 people across a variety of businesses. Therefore it has tremendous potential for job creation and skills development.”