Belfast Telegraph

Desertcreat training centre delay 'frustrating', say campaigners

By Michael McHugh

The community of Mid Ulster has been left frustrated and disheartened by delays to a new emergency services training centre, campaigners said.

Stormont ministers have insisted they remain committed to building a new state-of-the-art police, fire and prison service college at Desertcreat, near Cookstown, despite the group behind the project advising not to proceed in the current financial climate.

A delegation made up of members of the community in Mid Ulster visited Stormont yesterday where they were greeted by First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Cookstown District Council chairman Wilbert Buchanan said a £11.5m investment was anticipated.

"There is a real danger that these benefits will not be realised for Mid Ulster and delay after delay has left our community feeling frustrated and disheartened," he said.

The planned new build has already been beset with years of delay and setbacks. First proposed in 2004, it was originally envisaged to be opened by 2008 but building work has not started. A procurement exercise stalled earlier this year when concerns were raised over whether the project could be delivered within budget.

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