NI Executive takes control of former Ballykelly army base

The Northern Ireland Executive is now in full control of the former army barracks in Ballykelly, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.

The news was confirmed to the ‘Journal’ after weeks of speculation about what was happening with the sale of the massive site.

The ‘For Sale’ signs at the former Shackleton base were removed two weeks ago, prompting widespread speculation about its future.

The Ministry of Defence and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister confirmed to the ‘Journal’, however, control was handed over to the Executive on October 7.

“Following the recent conclusion of the MoD sales process for former military base site at Ballykelly, known as Shackleton, we concluded that none of the bids received by MoD were satisfactory,” said spokesperson for the OFMDFM.

“In our view, these bids did not reflect the potential worth of the site and that more effort should be devoted to obtaining better value.

“We therefore decided that OFMDFM should take control of the site. This occurred on 7 October 2011.

Work is currently under way to examine the options for this site which will include an assessment of its economic potential. Following receipt of this report, we will decide if any public sector options for the site should be explored further.”

A spokesperson for the MoD said: “The MoD had already gifted Shackleton Barracks to the NI Executive in accordance with the Hillsborough Agreement but the NI Executive had asked the MoD to market the site on its behalf. NI Executive recently decided that they wanted the MoD to transfer the site after all, so that NI Executive could manage its future. Transfer took place last Friday.

The MoD say they received three offers of “significant commercial interest from national and international companies, some with local connections”. They say, however, they received no offers from a Norwegian power company.