THE cost of maintaining the vacant Strabane Business Park has topped the £10,000 mark.
Opened in March 2013 following an investment of £6 million, the facility on the Melmount Road was designed to address the shortage of industrial land available across the district. Consisting of 22 acres, it had been hoped the park would be a catalyst for economic development in the area.
However since Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton cut the ribbon on the new park, it has failed to attract any commerce whatsoever.
This week Invest NI has emphasised that the lack of any tenants is not regarded as a failure, despite intimations in August 2016 that a first business would be announced in the short-term. At that time it had been claimed that one expression on interest was at a very advanced stage.
“Invest NI developed Strabane Business Park to address the shortage of available industrial land in the area,” the Invest NI spokesperson said. “The business park forms part of our land holding policy to develop land for industrial use in locations where the private sector is unwilling or unable to do so. It is not a failure that there is no tenant on the site at present, this is a long term commitment which can typically take 12-15 years for a park to become fully occupied.”
The spokesperson further explained that a company’s investment within the business park is largely dependent on it securing the necessary funding to purchase a serviced site, develop their facility and achieve relevant statutory approvals such as planning permission, all of which can take some time and are outside Invest NI’s control.
The spokesperson continued, “Please be assured, when a company decides to locate to Strabane Business Park, this will be formally announced by Invest NI and/or the company.
“Since Invest NI assumed responsibility for Strabane Business Park in 2014, we have spent £10,262 on maintaining the land to ensure that it continues to offer potential investors an attractive location for their investment plans.”