Belfast Telegraph

New college 'smaller than planned'

A new emergency services training college in Northern Ireland will probably not be on the same scale as originally envisaged, Martin McGuinness said.

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

The steering group, made up of Stormont officials and representatives of the emergency services, undertook a review of the envisaged development in Desertcreat, near Cookstown in Co Tyrone.

The deputy first minister said: "In terms of the scale of the college, the scale in all probability will not be on the same scale as originally envisaged."

He added: "I think that the review that will take place over the course of the next while will obviously have to deal with that but at the end of the day this money has been allocated in the 15/16 budget.

"It is £53 million and I think that the sooner we get on with this project the better because as far as I am concerned it has taken far, far too long."

He said the Executive had made a very clear commitment that the construction of the community safety college was a huge priority.

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 still 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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