Go ahead for police, prison, fire college

Go ahead for police, prison, fire college

Planning permission has been granted for the first police, prison and fire officer training college in Northern Ireland.

It is to be built on a 23,000 square metre site at Desertcreat Road near Cookstown.

The academic campus will provide new teaching, training and residential facilities together with associated car parking, access, landscaping and other ancillary site works.

The proposal also includes construction of a single wind turbine.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said the college is "much needed".

"The granting of full planning permission is an important step in the development of this significant project," continued the SDLP minister.

"This is why a timely decision here was crucial. This application was submitted on 15 June 2012.

"Following detailed pre-application discussions with the chief consultees and the applicant on the main issues and the broad parameters of the layout and design, I am in a position to announce this decision today.

"This timely planning decision facilitates the delivery of a much needed training facility and its contribution is helping the services protect citizens."

Representatives from the services have welcomed the news.

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said it is an "exciting time".

She added: "The college will provide us, and our colleagues in the NI Fire & Rescue Service and the NI Prison Service, with state of the art bespoke, practical and academic facilities and will in turn help make Northern Ireland a safer and more secure place for everyone.

"This in turn will create approximately 1,500 - 2,000 construction jobs which is a great opportunity not just for the local area but for Northern Ireland generally."

Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said: "The new college represents an investment in our Firefighters and their safety. Not only will it benefit new trainees, it will be used by every Firefighter and Support Staff member across Northern Ireland as part of their continuou,s lifelong training and development.

"Today we are another step closer in our journey towards creating a world class state of the art joint training facility and I very much welcome this announcement."

Justice Minister David Ford said: "This is excellent news. Not only will it provide world class academic facilities but specialised practical training areas such as a mock city centre and police station, fire house and prison, will ensure that the College will meet the collective and individual needs of each service."

Health Minister Edwin Poots said: "This state-of-the art facility is a wonderful resource for fire, prison and police personnel as it offers new learning and training techniques.

"This type of joint facility isn't available anywhere else in the world. Here in Northern Ireland, we are leading the way and it is something we can be rightly proud of."


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