Emma Little-Pengelly keen to visit massive Shackleton site to discuss maximising potential

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Emma Little-Pengelly has said she is keen to visit the massive former Shackleton barracks in Ballykelly in order to speak to local stakeholders about maximising the potential of the development site.

The 720 acre former RAF and British Army base was vacated by the military in 2008 and gifted to the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) in 2011 before being sold to the MJM Group in 2016.

In 2019 it was short-listed as a potential construction and logistics hub for the expansion of Heathrow airport.

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DUP MLA Alan Robinson asked the Deputy First Minister to outline what discussions have taken place about the Ballykelly site during an exchange in the Stormont Assembly this week.

The former Shackleton barracks and RAF base at Ballykelly.The former Shackleton barracks and RAF base at Ballykelly.
The former Shackleton barracks and RAF base at Ballykelly.

Ms. Little-Pengelly replied: “The development of these sites has been a part of the Executive Office and OFMDFM for some time, and it will play into a discussion around the strategic approach for the sites.

"We want to maximise the potential, as mentioned, around the Maze/Long Kesh site and other strategic sites. We know that they can be very important in the local area, and we want to work with the local community towards what can be achieved.

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"I was reading about the development of Ebrington and the significant benefit that it has brought to the local area and the local economy. It sets a very good example of what we can achieve if we work with the local council and local stakeholders to maximise the potential of these sites.”

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Mr. Robinson described Shackleton as ‘one of the most exciting sites in the north-west’ and said ‘every effort must be made to ensure that it becomes an economic driver for the north-west’.

The minister said it would be good to meet with him and local stakeholders.

"We are keen to get out of Belfast and get out and about. I am a Markethill girl, and there is a Tyrone woman, so we are keen to get out. Investment in the Belfast area is vitally important, and we support it, but of course we need to bring prosperity to all parts of Northern Ireland.

"We are keen to get up and speak to the local stakeholders about what we can do to support them in realising and maximising the potential of that site for the area,” she stated.