Arlene Foster: Ballykelly ‘Logistics Hub’ jobs prospects being held up by Heathrow planning issues

The potential creation of hundreds of jobs at the old Shackleton Barracks site is being held up by delays to the expansion of Heathrow airport in England, First Minister Arlene Foster has stated.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 9:57 am

Two years ago the former Ballykelly RAF and British Army base was shortlisted by the British Government as a potential construction and logistics hub for the expansion of the huge London airport.

East Derry MLA George Robinson had asked the First Minister why there has not been further progress on the development of the sprawling erstwhile military installation in north Derry.

The Limavady DUP man said that he did not want to ‘sound overcritical’ but asked the First Minister if she could ‘enlighten the House as to when we will see the promised hundreds of jobs at the 760-acre Shackleton Barracks site?’

Former Shackleton Barracks at Ballykelly.
Former Shackleton Barracks at Ballykelly.

“The development at Ballykelly has been slowed down by the fact that the Heathrow expansion has been stalled by a planning issue. It was meant to be linked to the Heathrow expansion, and, unfortunately, that is stalled.

“I am sure that that has had an impact on the matter to which he refers,” she said.

The Ballykelly site was acquired by the MJM Group in 2016.

Two yeas ago DUP MP Gregory Campbell said that the location of one of four ‘Heathrow Logistics Hubs’ at the former Shackleton Barracks site would provide a huge boost to the local economy.

“The final four sites will become offsite construction centres that will help to deliver Britain’s new runway bringing jobs and economic opportunities to every corner of the country as Heathrow looks to construct as much of the expanded airport offsite as possible,” according to the Heathrow expansion project team.