Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Massive Maze project has capability to create 5,000 jobs

The new Maze site proposal
The new Maze site proposal
The derelict Maze prison on the outskirts of Belfast
The derelict Maze prison on the outskirts of Belfast
PA Library photo dated 1979 of The Maze Prison, the entrance to H-Block 5 at the Maze Prison near Belfast, Northern Ireland.
PA Library photo dated 1979 of The Maze Prison, the entrance to H-Block 5 at the Maze Prison near Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The development at the sprawling site of the former Maze prison will attract 5,000 jobs and £300m of investment, those behind the project have said.

The Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation yesterday unveiled its plans for the site based on the outskirts of Lisburn.

The site is the largest development site in public ownership, with 347 acres ready for redevelopment. It is twice as large as the Titanic Quarter and four times the size of Canary Wharf.

There are currently nine construction companies and 23 material suppliers involved in work.

Those involved in the project said the site will house a range of business interests focused on new technologies will be based there.

Its proximity to ports, airports and major transport corridors are hoped to make it an attractive location for investment.

Among those who addressed the audience at the launch were First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Mr Robinson described the site as “a world leader” in terms of its potential.

“I find it hard to imagine anywhere you could see in Northern Ireland that does not have greater potential than this site,” he said.

“That is fantastic site to have.”

Mr McGuinness said the development was taking place on “the most exciting piece of land anywhere in western Europe”.

He described the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society as “pioneers” for relocating there.

“That’s the first real manifestation of what this site can do for our economy, for our people, as we move forward,” he said. “We have taken a huge decision in terms of how we intend to move this hugely important site forward.”

Terence Brannigan, chair of the Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation, said there is currently “significant international interest” in the site.

“For the people of Northern Ireland, in these very difficult times, it is an opportunity we simply cannot afford to ignore,” he said.

Mr Brannigan said he was confident there will be £100m investment in place by 2016.

“In a couple of weeks we will welcome the Balmoral Show,” he said. “The show is a new chapter in the long and varied history of this site and a new phase for the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society.”

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