Fresh setback for police college

Fresh setback for police college

Plans to build a new emergency services training college at Desertcreat near Cookstown have suffered a fresh setback, with the contractor understood to be unable to progress with the project.

The multi-million pound project was aimed at building a joint police and fire training centre.But it is understood that the firm Gilbert-Ash has raised issues regarding supply costs.In a statement from the Programme Board of the Northern Ireland Community Safety College, it stressed its commitment to providing the training facilities for the PSNI, NIFRS and NI Prison Service."However, the Programme Board has been made aware of a number of cost pressures within the supply chain regarding the tender to build the new College by FGP Consortium, which comprises FCC Construccion and local company Gilbert Ash," the statement added."But in adherence to the procurement process, has yet to receive official confirmation from the bidder."A statement for Gilbert-Ash said: "Since appointment as preferred bidder, Gilbert-Ash as part of the FGP consortium has invested considerable time and resources, working collaboratively with the Client team, to agree a financially viable way forward for both parties."We have now communicated our position and we await the client's response.Gilbert-AshHealth Minister Edwin Poots, who was at a meeting in Belfast on Wednesday evening, has given his reaction to the latest developments."I think the scale of it - it will have to be an Executive decision," the DUP man told UTV."It is not a decision for the Justice Minister David Ford and myself to take and it certainly is a very significant setback."Asked if the college will ever be built, he responded: "Well certainly we have to look for the value for money, and if the value for money is something which we do not believe delivers, then it would be the case that it would not be built, but we have not reached that point as yet."Sandra Overend MLA called for the ministers to "get a grip" of the project.CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)"The Justice Minister and the Health Minister need to step in and get a grip of the Desertcreat project," the Ulster Unionist said."It has limped from stage to stage, it has been hit by delay after delay and now seems to have gone into reverse gear. The business case was approved in late 2011 and nearly two and a half years later we are still no further on."This latest announcement is a bolt from the blue and will be a blow to many people's hopes."

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