Belfast Telegraph

Bargain Co Armagh property on the market for just £95,000... complete with padded cell

BY REBECCA BLACK

Stunning views? Check. Space for development? Check. Idyllic village location? Check. Padded cell?

One of the latest bargain properties to go on the market is an escape to the country, but not as most would know it.

The half an acre site was formerly a police outpost in one of the most infamous areas of the Troubles. It includes the main station complete with cells and a Sergeant's house.

Located in Bessbrook, the station was attacked many times by the IRA, including on one occasion with mortars.

The 1950s station was part of an extensive military installation in the village with the nearby former mill hosting the Army's main base in south Armagh and also the busiest helipad in Europe.

Tragically Bessbrook, which saw some of the worst violence, was also the scene of the last soldier to be killed during the Troubles. Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was shot dead by a long-distance sniper while operating a security checkpoint in 1997.

He was the last of 763 military personnel to die in Northern Ireland. The Army withdrew from Bessbrook Mill in 2007, while the Policing Board agreed the closure of Bessbrook station in 2009 and it shut its doors for the last time in 2012.

At that time PSNI Sector Commander, Inspector Lorraine Dobson, said the closure of the station was a "poignant occasion due to the history it holds".

Now the site is being offered for sale at the reduced price of £95,000 after negotiations with a buyer fell through.

Local SDLP councillor John Feehan told the Belfast Telegraph that locals are keen to see the site redeveloped.

A public meeting was held about the site several months ago.

"We're hoping a developer might buy it and turn it into a health village with a doctor's surgery and a pharmacy," he said.

Scores of former police stations are currently on the market, including another half an acre at Killyleagh which is being offered for sale for £95,000 and another former station on the Shore Road in Greencastle is currently on the market for £250,000. The 0.27 acre site includes planning consent for erection of two business units and 23 two bedroom apartments with private parking.

BTW Shiels estate agent Andrew Fraser said they have had five stations on their books recently. They include Crossgar which has sold and Comber for which the sale has been agreed.

Last year the former Newtownstewart station sold for a little over £100,000 at auction.

Complete with more than an acre of land, a purpose-built sleeping accommodation block and a padded cell, the station was sold to an unnamed bidder.

The buyer of the former Coalisland station plans to transform it into a housing development of 17 properties.

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