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Regeneration of Forkhill moves closer

14 October, 2010

Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA announced today that her Department has secured the site of the ex-military base in Forkhill for the local community.

Michelle Gildernew said: “I am glad to announce that I have received approval to complete the purchase of the Forkhill ex-military site, and that the necessary funding is in place.

“This paves the way for the regeneration of the site, which will be jointly managed by my Department and the Department for Social Development. Once redeveloped, the site is likely to feature social housing, workspace units, a community centre and crèche and an all weather multi-sports pitch. It will greatly improve the quality of life for local residents and be an important asset to the community for years to come.”

Minister Gildernew added: “The regeneration of Forkhill is in line with my Department’s strategic objective of strengthening the social and economic infrastructure of rural areas. The redevelopment of the ex- military site will create workspace units for local businesses and generate employment. Affordable housing will ensure that those families who want to stay in, or move to Forkhill can do so. A new crèche will allow local parents to return to work, while the community centre will create a new hub in the centre of the village.”

Minister Gildernew went on to say: “I was proud to work with the Forkhill Community Association and the MP for the area Conor Murphy MP on this project which represents what I want to see for all our rural towns and villages across the north. Thriving and sustainable rural communities, where the needs of local people are put first, and supported by those in Government. The fact that it is an ex-military site being redeveloped is a clear sign that the local community are moving forward from the past towards a brighter future. I am delighted that my Department is able to play its part in the redevelopment, which will breathe new life into the heart of Forkhill.”

“I will be visiting Forkhill tomorrow to speak to the Community Association and assure them that I have kept my promise to commit funds to buy the site. My Officers will continue to work with the Association to develop the site once purchase is complete. I intend to ensure that the regeneration of Forkhill, using DARD funds, becomes a blueprint for what a local rural community can achieve in partnership with government and my hope is that Forkhill will be a legacy of my own time in government.”

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