Northern Ireland

Planning application lodged for Desertcreat training college

PSNI graduates
Image caption PSNI recruits will be trained at the college which will also cater for prison and fire officers

A planning application has been lodged for the new training college for police, prison and fire officers in County Tyrone.

Construction work at the site at Desertcreat, just outside Cookstown, is expected to start next year. The building should be completed in 2015.

Justice Minister David Ford said the new £140m college would be a "world leader in its field".

The project will create up to 2,000 construction jobs.

Mr Ford said: "This new college at Desertcreat is a significant investment by my department and the executive in the public services we all rely on to keep us safe."

'Best practice'

He described the submission of the full planning application as "an important milestone in its development" and said he was committed to seeing the development progress "as quickly as possible".

"Once operational, this will be a world class facility, recognised internationally as a centre of excellence for training."

Health Minister Edwin Poots said: "The expectation is that the joint public services college will develop best practice in training, technology, sustainability and ecology and will be recognised by peer organisations as a world class partnership training environment."

Councillor Tony Quinn, chairman of Cookstown District Council, said: "Reaching this important milestone takes us another step closer to work commencing on the ground next year.

"It is my hope and expectation that this major capital build project will have a huge positive impact on job creation in Cookstown and the wider Mid Ulster area, as local companies gear up to win new work from the development."

Approval was secured to build the college in October 2011.

The project was first announced in 2004 and was originally due to be finished in 2008.

The cost envisaged at the time was £80m.

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