Belfast Telegraph

Developer planning to build 140 homes on site of Omagh school

Early computer generated images produced by Urban Pulse for its £21m ‘Omagh Central’ project
Early computer generated images produced by Urban Pulse for its £21m ‘Omagh Central’ project
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

The site of an Omagh school preparing to relocate to the town's new shared education campus could be turned into a £21m residential development under a proposal by a Glasgow-based company.

Urban Pulse is headed by James Patterson, who is originally from Northern Ireland. He is bidding to build up to 140 residential units on the site of the Sacred Heart College, once it has been vacated.

The company has already been given planning permission for a £22m retirement complex at the former Thornhill College site in Londonderry. It's also proposing a £54m retail development next to Omagh's new shared education campus. The company is proposing a 300,000 sq ft mixed use site, anchored by a major superstore.

The Ulster Herald reported that the firm has now secured a deal with the Catholic Church to buy the Sacred Heart College site on the edge of Omagh town centre.

Up to 4,000 post-primary students from five Omagh schools were due to begin relocating to the former MoD site from next year. But the £140m Strule shared education campus remains stalled over the failure to appoint a contractor following the withdrawal of the firm previously involved last year.

To date, only special needs specialist Arvalee School and Resource Centre has made the move.

The Department of Education said it cannot yet set a new date for the project's completion.

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The eventual move will result in a series of prominent school sites in Omagh being vacated.

The intervention of Urban Pulse suggests that the future of at least one of those sites has already been determined. Headquartered in Glasgow, the company claims to control a property portfolio of £257m.

The company has labelled its housing project 'Omagh Central' and has recruited Belfast-based architects Kevin Cartin and WYG to develop a masterplan for the site ahead of the submission of a planning application.

"We are proposing a very modern and attractive residential development on this site after the school vacates," a spokesman told the Ulster Herald.

"We feel this is a highly desirable and convenient location for families and that it will be a huge asset to Omagh in providing much-needed high quality housing."

The Sacred Heart College was established in September 2000 following the amalgamation of St Patrick's and St Brigid's high schools. The college is spread throughout the premises of both former schools, which were originally developed on the site between 1959 and 1961.

Belfast Telegraph

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