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Three Rivers project gets the green light

Words: Sam Waddicor

Northern Ireland Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today gave the go-ahead to the Three-Rivers Development, which is being built on former ‘no-man’s land’.

The development site is between the towns of Strabane in Northern Ireland and Lifford in the Irish Republic. The project gets its name from the site’s location at the confluence of three rivers - the rivers Finn, Mourne and Foyle.

Planning and masterplanning for the 50-acre site was led by Turley on behalf of Riverside Building & Development, a group of local investors.

The mixed-use scheme contains plans for retail and leisure facilities as well a 12,000 sq m Employment Park, a Learning Campus about half that size, and a 90-bed hotel. The developer is also seeking European funding for a park along the riverbank. Also incorporated into the scheme is a ‘Peace Project’ that comprises of a new shared public space. This is a nod to the location of the development being on previously contested land and to the projects aims of capitalising on a historic opportunity to link two border towns.

Brian Kelly, director at Turley said: “Once a highly contested space, the excitement generating around this project is palpable and is evidenced by representations to the design team at local meetings and to the planning application itself. Key to this support is the alignment of the project objectives with the regional priorities in seeking to establish shared (uncontested) space and generate employment and act as a catalyst for further investment.”

Upon announcing planning permission, Durkan said: “I have visited Strabane and listened to and considered the views of a broad spectrum of interested parties. I acknowledge that overall there is strong local support for the project and the need for new investment, job creation and the potential for this development to act as a catalyst for further inward investment.

"I am also aware of the concerns of some local town centre traders. However, I believe that any potential negative impact associated within this development will be offset in the long term by growth in the local economy, the creation of jobs and greater wealth, inward investment and visitor spend."

Photo Credit: Turley