Sale of barracks could scupper major investment plan for Glengormley

For sale: Glengormley Police Station.
For sale: Glengormley Police Station.
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Newtownabbey Borough Council is to seek a meeting with the Chief Constable to discuss the sale of Glengormley Police Station.

The council is in the process of drawing up a concept plan for the possible redevelopment of the area around Glenwell Road, including the former barracks and existing commercial units. However, the PSNI’s push to dispose of the property, which closed to the public in June 2012, could scupper the potential multi-million pound economic regeneration project before the plan is even completed.

Back in June, councillors agreed a spend of up to £10,000 on consultants to undertake a concept plan for the area. They then wrote to the PSNI asking for it to hold off on the disposal of the property until December, to allow time for the concept plan to be completed and the council to make a decision on whether or not to make a formal bid to acquire the site.

Members requested the additional time to assess their options after initial documentation about the disposal of the site through Land and Property Services was sent to Belfast City Council by mistake.

However, at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 26, councillors were informed that the PSNI has declined to grant the extension and will be pushing ahead with the disposal of the property, selling the building and land on the open market if necessary.

With the Glenwell concept plan unlikely to be completed until November, members agreed that “a letter be sent to the PSNI expressing the council’s dissatisfaction regarding the timeframe as the initial fault lay with Land and Property Services, and advising that the council has committed £10,000 to the Greater Glenwell Road Plan.”

It was also agreed that “a cross-party meeting be arranged with members, the Chief Executive and the Chief Constable or Assistant Chief Constable to assist in the progression of the issue.”

“I welcome the fact that all members supported a cross-party delegation going to meet with the Chief Constable,” said DUP Councillor Phillip Brett. “We need an extension until at least November to allow time for the concept plan to be completed. This is vital for redeveloping this part of Glengormley.”

The success of the Glenwell plan, which could see a modern purpose-built entertainments complex, restaurants and other business units constructed at the site, would depend on the council getting agreement from land and business owners, as well as securing significant government and private sector investment.

The police station site, valued at £135,000, has also been earmarked by the Housing Executive for a possible social housing project.