Dungiven Presbyterian Church is understood to be in the process of buying a former police station in the town.
The sale of the former station is being marketed by Lambert Smith Hampton who have said there was approximately a dozen expressions of interest locally, including Belfast and the North West, close to the Dungiven and Derry areas.
The company confirmed to the ‘Journal’ sale has been agreed, but declined to provide details about who is buying the property. The 6,920 sq ft (643 sq m) site is situated along the town’s busy Main Street. The station officially closed to the public in April 2013 having previously been open for just a handful of hours on alternate Tuesdays, but rarely received visits from the public.
The former Limavady Borough Council had previously expressed an interest in the station as part of plans for a multi-million pound community and sports project for Dungiven, but they decided against pursuing it.
The 0.34 hectare site was acquired by police in 1926 and, according to the PSNI figures, cost £74,645 to run each year. with £50,000 going towards rates and the rest for electricity and maintenance.
The ‘Journal’ understands Dungiven Presbyterian Church - which is located on New Street - is now close to completion on the sale of the former station. It is understood the Church intends to use the site for car parking to facilitate members who attend service on New Street. The move has been welcomed by local politicians.
East Derry Sinn Fein MLA Cathal ÓhOísin said: “I have talked to a number of elders in the church and knew they were very interested in it.
“Their parking is really not-fit-for-purpose, as you have cars parked on both sides on New Street which is very narrow. It’s far from ideal, so I can see why they want to acquire it as it is adjacent to them. However, it is a very difficult building and I don’t know how useful it would be for them. I absolutely welcome the fact that it is back in community hands.”
TUV Colr. Boyd Douglas said: “It’s good news for the church, as it’s right beside the rear of the church, and will be convenient for them. Hopefully, in the long term it will benefit the church and the community.”
Michael Coyle, a former SDLP councillor, said: “It’s good to see ‘sale agreed’ on the station, and I’m sure the church will put it to good use. They’ve needed better facilties for a number of years for parking and other facilities.”