THE £600,000 development of a four-lane bowling alley between Strabane and Omagh has been given the green light.
Local couple, David and Sharon Booth are planning to develop the four-lane facility close to the Mellon Fun Farm which they also run near the Ulster American Folk Park.
It is hoped that the new amenity would potentially attract 15,000 people annually and the application also includes a 60-seater restaurant.
Councillors overturned the recommendation of planning officials who had been proposing that the bowling alley should be refused permission to proceed.
Concerns had been expressed that allowing it to go ahead at the proposed location went against a ‘Town Centre First’ policy being promoted by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
Speaking to the Chronicle, David Booth said he was confident the plan would fill a demand for ten-pin bowling in the Omagh area.
“Our intention is to construct a full-size 25 metre bowling alley and we’re very pleased that this has finally been recommended for approval,” he said.
“Ten-pin bowling is a very popular activity and it is unfortunate that at the moment people are driving past Omagh to take part in it in Derry.
“This new bowling alley will fulfil a need which has been clearly identified in the Omagh area. We have already been receiving enquiries from sports clubs and youth organisations about our availability, so there is huge potential. It is hoped work can begin later this year. This is a project which we have already been more than two years working on and we are looking forward to finally seeing it reach fruition.”
Mr Booth said there would be around three full-time and three part-time jobs created as a result of the development.
Both he and his wife have been running the Mellon Fun Farm since 2013.
It is expected that the new bowling alley would be open from 4pm until 10.30pm daily excluding Mondays.
The decision of the planning committee will now have to be ratified by a full meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council early next month.