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£6m business park in Strabane due to get its first tenant

Gareth McKeown

A BUSINESS park which cost taxpayers almost £6 million, but has not created any jobs, could be about to get its first tenant.

The Strabane Business Park first opened in 2013 and was designed to address a shortage of industrial land and be a catalyst for economic development, but in three years no businesses have taken up residence.

That could be about to change though, as a planning application has recently been lodged with Derry City and Strabane District Council to open a factory unit on the Melmount Road site.

The application was received on August 19 and is currently being processed by the council.

While the identity of the interested company has yet to be confirmed, it is believed that the factory will produce curry and gravy sauces. According to the planning application, six people will be employed at the plant.

The Irish News revealed last month how Invest NI spent more than £3.1m buying the land and another £2.7m developing the business park, which offers 22 acres of serviced land for potential investors.

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan welcomed news of the potential tenant and said another business was in "advanced talks" over moving into the Co Tyrone park.

"It is good news at last," he said.

"It is a starting point and I would hope that planning officials in the council would ensure that any interested party is facilitated and there's very little hurdles and red tape to overcome.

"People will be very relieved money wasn't wasted on that site and I would encourage many to follow, because Strabane is a good place to do business in, it is a good place to invest in and there is a good, talented workforce ready and waiting."

Invest NI has refused to confirm whether a company will soon be moving into the vacant business park.

"If and when a company decides to locate at Strabane Business Park, this will be formally announced by Invest NI and/or the company. We will therefore not be commenting at this stage," a spokesman said.

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