Alliance Party backs motion to delay development of new Newry Civic Centre

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
Community, Politics

Group leader of the Alliance Party on Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Patrick Brown, has publicly stated their plans to back a motion by Independent Newry Councillor Gavin Malone to halt development of a new Civic Centre in Newry for the remainder of the Council term.

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Speaking about the motion Councillor Brown told Newry Times, “I think that the decision to hold off any further development of a new second civic centre for the remainder of this term is vital in light of COVID-19.



“These are the sort of difficult decisions that Councillors must make in order to help the Council recover from the impact of the pandemic and ensure good value for ratepayer money.

“A new civic centre for Council staff offers very little return for the ordinary resident of the District, and yet they will be footing the multi-million-pound bill via their rates for many years to come.

“This is even more absurd when we consider the fact that we already have a first-class public sector campus capable of hosting full council meetings in Downpatrick.



“This campus is underutilised and we should not be duplicating costs and running two large offices,” he insisted.

Speaking about the motion, Councillor Brown said, “I have long been sceptical about the need for a new civic centre in Newry of the scale currently proposed by Council.

“As it stands, this new civic centre would cost upwards of £25 million of public money.

“I believe that in a post-COVID world, marked by increased working from home and a clear need for more green open spaces, the desire by the public for politicians to spend millions on new office buildings is non-existent.



“Whilst the current Newry offices on Monaghan row are in need of improvement, that does not justify a spend of this scale.

“Investment could be made to improve these offices or move to a much smaller site than the one proposed at a lower cost.

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“The money saved should be prioritised for the development of green space, for example, money intended for a civic centre in Newry should be used for the new 15-acre park in Newry.

“I have not heard one constituent call for a second civic centre in Newry, even before COVID-19.

He added, “I hope that all parties will act in the public interest and back this worthy and timely motion next week.”


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