Belfast Telegraph

Former police station and mart plans set to transform Markethill

Boost: Paul Berry
Boost: Paul Berry

By Mark McConville

A Co Armagh village is in line for a major redevelopment of its former mart and police station.

RHAS Properties wants to demolish the derelict properties in Markethill and turn them into retail and commercial space as well as building a coffee shop.

There would also be a community business unit.

The site, on Mowhan Road, is opposite JD Hunter's supermarket, which was sold to Spar owner Henderson Group in February.

Councillor Paul Berry welcomed the proposed investment in Markethill, which he said was a "very busy and successful town".

"Markethill is a great town with many independent retailers and this major investment will boost the town economically and create jobs for the rural area," he added.

"It is very exciting for the local community and a sign of growth in Markethill."

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In total the site would bring 1,869 sq m of sales space with an additional 464 sq m of office space.

The plans have been put to consultation. The site of the former police station is currently being used as a temporary car park and it will be transformed into a permanent car parking area for the new development with 34 spaces.

The police station had been up for sale for £200,000 in 2011.

Markethill Livestock Mart moved to Cladymilltown Road in 2013.

It replaced both the old town centre mart and the former Newtownhamilton Livestock Mart.

The police station was one of 26 rural stations across Northern Ireland earmarked for closure by the Policing Board in August 2009.

JD Hunter & Co was sold in February for an undisclosed sum to Spar giant Henderson Group and a Belfast-born entrepreneur, Dermott McConnell, who owns five supermarkets in South Africa.

Richard Hunter had owned the supermarket with his sister Alison Strong - the grandchildren of founder JD Hunter.

At the time of the sale the siblings said they would miss the business, but added: "It is a pleasure to be handing over control to Dermott and we are sure he will soon come to have the same passion for the Markethill community as we do.

"We will miss working in this great community but look forward to supporting the next phase of the JD Hunter story. Our thanks go to staff and colleagues, past and present, who contributed to our success over the past 99 years."

Belfast Telegraph