Claire Sugden, the Independent Unionist MLA for East Londonderry has welcomed comments by the acting First Minister on the sale of the Shackleton site at Ballykelly.
Miss Sugden said:
“I welcome comments by the acting First Minister on the sale of the Shackleton site at Ballykelly. This is a massive opportunity for the area.
622 acres were placed on the open market on 30 June with the deadline for expressions of interest as Friday 2nd October.
Northern Ireland Water will purchase 85 acres and there have been 70 other expressions of interest. I look forward to discussing with the Minister those expressions which come forward as bids.
We must maximise the benefits that this site can deliver, a key element being the creation of jobs.
However, I am mindful that it benefit all local stakeholders, inclusive of all community needs, with opportunities for local groups and enterprises to benefit.
I have constantly raised these issues. Whilst the Executive have met with the local Community Association, there are other stakeholders in this area of my constituency who I feel have not been adequately consulted with.
There is potential for this to be an incredibly exciting time for Ballykelly and the surrounding area. With DARD’s plans to relocate coinciding with the roll out of European Rural Development funding, rural groups from Ballykelly, Greysteel, Claudy and Limavady could use the Shackleton site to benefit from this money.
I again encourage the Executive to be innovative in their decisions around this development, rather than simply selling off the family silver. They must create long term benefits for the whole area.”