Mid £5.2m boost for construction industry plans

A capital programme in Mid Ulster valued at £5.2 million is making a ‘critical contribution’ to the recovery of the construction industry.

By Claire Cartmill
Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 5:00 pm
An artist’s impression of the new Lakehouse at Round Lake, Fivemiletown
An artist’s impression of the new Lakehouse at Round Lake, Fivemiletown

A capital programme in Mid Ulster valued at £5.2 million is making a ‘critical contribution’ to the recovery of the construction industry.

The multi-million pound investment plans from Mid Ulster District Council will see a total of nine projects delivered by late spring 2021, boosting the construction sector, which in Mid Ulster alone accounts for more than 4,400 jobs across 1,300 businesses.

Luxury on-water glamping pods at Ballyronan Marina, lakeside camping at Round Lake in Fivemiletown, a range of forest, mountain and riverside walking trails and a 3G pitch are among some of the projects currently under construction or about to begin.

Chair of the Mid Ulster District Council, councillor Cathal Mallaghan, welcomed the significant investment and boost to the area.

He said: “Mid Ulster has consistently been predicted to be one of the hardest-hit regions as a result of the pandemic and a key influencing factor is the high concentration of construction businesses here.

“Our investment is, therefore, making a critical contribution to sustaining the sector and aiding its recovery.

“At the same time we are acutely aware that our tourism and hospitality industry is also reeling from the effects of the pandemic and so it is equally vital that we continue our drive to develop innovative tourism product which will help attract domestic, and eventually, out of state visitors.

“This is an ambitious programme and would not be possible without the support of a range of funding bodies and programmes, so all credit is due to them for having the foresight to support our vision.”

Niall Bell’s Cookstown-based company Bell Contracts is delivering the developments of visitor facilities and camping at Round Lake in Fivemiletown which will enable him to keep employees and subcontractors in work.

He explained: “At the start of lockdown, a lot of schemes which we had in the pipeline were understandably cancelled or postponed, as customers’ money was being diverted elsewhere and our focus was on securing new contracts and keeping our employees and subcontractors in work.

“With this scheme in particular, where we are working in a large, outdoor space and can have a broad range of trades on site at the same time while still meeting the new regulations in terms of social distancing, we have the advantage of keeping to a tight programme which is good for us, our client, all our subcontractors, from bricklayers to electricians, and our suppliers.”

E Quinn Civils, a privately owned company based in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone, is also one of the companies now delivering several of the projects on the ground for the investment.

Owner Eddie Quinn, praised the initiative adding that they will be “also sub-contracting to other local companies.”

He continued: “Being able to bid for and win such significant contracts is a boost for our company and the industry, particularly in these times when we are dealing with a pandemic, managing our travel and work practices in line with restrictions, and moving into the traditionally leaner winter period.

“While we are delivering the works, we are also sub-contracting to other local companies, which means employment is not only being sustained here with us in Quinn’s, but also in other businesses both in Mid Ulster and beyond”.

The Mid Ulster District Council capital projects have been funded either via the DAERA – Tacking Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework (TRIPSI), the DAERA Rural Tourism Scheme under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, or the Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the European Union.

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