DARD HQ Ballykelly: Construction to start in September

Close to £2.9 million has been spent on the relocation of a government department to Ballykelly in the last five years, the '˜Journal' can reveal.

Saturday, 16th July 2016, 7:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:58 pm
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) undated artist impression of how the new headquarters for DARD in Ballykelly would look like. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday April 30, 2015. Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill confirmed that officials had submitted plans for development of the Ballykelly site for approval to Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Building work at the former Shackleton army base in Co Londonderry is expected to begin next year, with staff arriving at their new offices by the end of 2017. See PA story ULSTER Agriculture. Photo credit should read: DARD/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

From June 2011 to end March 2016 approximately, £2.86m has been spent on construction costs for the new base for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Afffairs.

Construction was previously due to start in July, 2016, however that date has been extended to September 2016.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said: “These dates were based on a Contractor being appointed in January 2016. JH Turkington & Sons were not appointed until March 2016.”

The department says the relocation of the DAERA headquarters to Ballykelly remains on target with the new build to be completed by the end of 2017.

“Following a tendering process, JH Turkington & Sons Ltd, were appointed in March 2016 and have commenced a period of pre-construction design work.

“Pre construction involves the full and detailed design of the building and Mechanical and Electrical installation, for example, developing cross sections of the building showing how each and every element is constructed,” said the spokesperson.

A detailed staffing plan that will set out what posts will relocate to Ballykelly and when is currently being considered by the Minister.

“A phased approach is planned with mainly corporate service type posts relocating by December 2017. From 2018 onwards further phasing of moves will enable the Department to replace the knowledge and skills needed to ensure business continuity, however at this stage the Minister is reflecting on the plans,” the spokesperson added.

Agriculture minister, Michelle McIlveen will visit the site when construction work begins in September 2016. the spokesperson added.