A MAJOR £350,000 development is set to transform one of Newtownstewart’s oldest buildings into a modern facility for community use.
Planning permission is currently being sought for the proposed extension and alterations to the former town hall.
The ambitious project is being spearheaded by the local Two Castles Amateur Boxing Club and the Newtownstewart Community Development Association.
It is hoped that work will begin within the next year if the green light is received and funding is secured from a number of outside bodies.
The site is located on Town Hall Street and will see the refurbishment of the distinctive and historic building. Volunteers for the two organisations are also planning a fundraising drive. John Gallagher from the boxing club said the hope was that the scheme would breathe new life into the building and also provide much-needed additional facilities for local people.
“We have been working hard on this project for some time now and are really excited to be now in the position to seek planning permission for our plans,” he said.
“New changing-rooms and toilet facilities have already been provided within the existing Town Hall and the main part of the project will involve an extension to the building.
“Over the course of the year there are many events held in the Town Hall both on behalf of the boxing club and the community development association.
It will be good to host these in the future in modern and purpose-built facilities.” The Town Hall in Newtownstewart is over 100 years old and for many decades was used to hold Petty Session court cases.
The original facade of the building and other surviving historic features will be retained as part of the development.
Mr Gallagher said that they have been working alongside officials from Derry and Strabane District Council to progress the project.
“Our focus now is on obtaining planning permission and sourcing outside funding which will then have to be matched by our own fundraising,” he added. “There is a lot of work ahead and once completed the new building will be designed to ensure accessibility for allpeople who may come and use it.”