Speaking in the wake of last week’s revelations that Strabane is to receive two new school builds, Kevin Crumlish says he hopes the Planning Service will give the green light to the Gaelscoil relocating to Adria sooner rather than later.
Emphasising however that no commitments have yet been made, the Derry developer confirmed that as he understands it, Adria is the “preferred location” for the new Gaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh.
“This is good news, especially for the people of the area, who have had to put up with a lot this past while,” Mr Crumlish said, referring to the chronic anti-social behaviour at the former factory site in recent years.
“But until we get planning permission, nothing is certain.”
Minister John O’Dowd last week announced that both Strabane Academy and Gaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh would benefit from new builds, though the final details have yet to be approved. In all Mr O’Dowd gave the green light to 22 new building projects across the North.
It is 16 years since the Gaelscoil was established in Strabane, starting out with just four pupils and a single teacher.
Current principal, Máire Ní Dhochartaigh said that a fully resourced facility was what they had always dreamed of.
“Particularly in the current climate this is good news,” Mr Crumlish continued.
“The fact is: This could make some use of the site rather than it lying vacant.”
Mr Crumlish also emphasised that he is not set to gain financially from the vesting of the site.
“When I bought it, we were in different times but the value of the site has dropped dramatically.”
He added, “What I lost on this site was substantial and it’s money that will never be recovered. It was bought at the wrong time.
“But not wanting to put a negative spin on things, this is great news for the school but especially the people from the area.
“This could be the catalyst for further development of the wider site.”
When contacted this week in relation to the matter a spokesperson for Planning Service said, “In view of the historic use at this site, a land contamination report has been requested and this is due by March 13, 2013.”
They added however that any formal consideration for an educational facility would still have to be submitted to planners, as the current proposal does not include a school.