Ballykelly residents to campaign for MoD land

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Ballykelly residents say they will campaign for some of the former Shackleton army barracks to be given to the community instead of being sold to the highest bidder.

The Executive has put the 682-acre site on the market, but some local residents and politicians claim the people of Ballykellydeserve some of the land after having the camp on their doorstep for so long.

East Derry MLA John Dallat said he is “disgusted” at the news, describing it as a “thundering disgrace”.

He said there were a number of opportunities to develop the site – including for sport, tourism and infrastructure – to create jobs.

“People in Ballykelly lived with the army camp for years, by and large without confrontation. This is a slap in the face for their tolerance and my biggest fear is this will be a hotch potch development not in the long term benefits of the wider community who are entitled to have their say on how it is developed.”

Tina McCloskey of Ballykelly Community and Youth Association said the village deserves to have some of the land.

“Even if we had space for a community centre; that’s all we are asking for, just to give something back to Ballykelly. We are owed something.”

First Minister, Peter Robinson said: “The Shackleton base at Ballykelly will be the first to be sold, going on to the market immediately.

“The proceeds from this sale will go straight to the Executive.”