Tags

Friday, 17 December 2021

Alliance calls for government to grasp opportunity from delay to sale of Kinnegar Holywood Army Base

North Down Alliance representatives have called upon central and local government to grasp the opportunity arising from news that sale of Kinnegar Logistics Base in Holywood has been delayed by two years from 2022 to 2024. 

Member of Parliament for North Down Dr Stephen Farry stated “The Ministry of Defence has recently informed me that the anticipated disposal of Kinnegar Logistics Base has been delayed from 2022 to 2024. On the surface, this may be concerning news. But on reflection, this gives the Council and the potential developers time and the opportunity to fully engage with stakeholders, including the local community and facilitate creative and innovative and sustainable solutions. This is a one-off opportunity that we need to get right” 

Also commenting on the development, Andrew Muir MLA for North Down, who raised the matter in the Assembly on Monday 13 December 2021, stated “Whilst the site is currently the location for the temporary resting place that must be kept in place for as long as it is sadly required as a 54 acre prime site close to Belfast Kinnegar Logistics Base offer a huge wealth of potential that could be utilised but this must be in close consultation with local people with opening up and utilisation of the access road from Airport Road a critical part of any plans. 

Whilst I was disappointed by the decision taken by the DUP and UUP last year to defund the Masterplan process I previously recommended as a Councillor I would urge Ards and North Down Borough Council to re-think and fund the Masterplan in the context of this recent announcement and potential for many new jobs and millions of pounds of private sector investment. 

The Department for Communities must also step-up to help ensure acquisition of the site for regeneration using some of the powers they were meant to devolve to Councils but never did and indeed the Ministry of Defence must also speed up work to enable future development of the site. 

Most crucially, the Ministry of Defence need to reconsider their disposal policy and work with the Department for Communities and wider Northern Ireland Executive to align with previous disposal arrangements for many other bases”.

Official Report: Monday 13 December 2021

Members' Statements

Kinnegar Logistics Base

Mr Muir: I want to raise the future of Kinnegar logistics base in Holywood and to urge central and local government to grasp the opportunity presented by the recent decision, by the Ministry of Defence, to delay disposal by two years from 2022 to 2024. Kinnegar was previously a busy base, employing up to 1,000 civilian staff at the height of the Troubles, but the future need for this 54-acre base has changed. I welcome the commitment given by the Ministry of Defence that no job losses will occur and those currently employed there will be redeployed to other barracks.

 
Whilst the site is currently the location for the temporary resting place — and that must be kept in place for as long as it is, sadly, required — Kinnegar logistics base offers a huge wealth of potential that could be utilised, but it must be done in close consultation with local people. Kinnegar is already busy with traffic and, with its being built on sand dunes and needing robust flood protections, consulting with and securing the buy-in of local residents is essential in relation to plans and to any works that may be undertaken. The opening up and utilisation of the access road from Airport Road is a critical part of any plans. Additional vehicles cannot be squeezed through the esplanade.
 
As we have unfortunately seen at other sites across Northern Ireland, far too often assets close down, people move on and all that is left is a site turned into nothing more than an eyesore while public bodies dither and debate its future. In this context, in early 2018, I proposed, and the council agreed, the pursuit of a mixed-use master plan for the site in close consultation with local residents, businesses and other key stakeholders. I was, therefore, very disappointed to learn that, with £31 million of investment and over 1,000 new jobs on the horizon, some parties came together two years later, in February 2020, to defund this master planning work. I urge the council to rethink that in the context of the recent MOD announcement and put in place the necessary funding to safeguard its rates revenue from the site and also be part of efforts to boost its rates revenue and the significant jobs and wider investment that are possible.
 
The Department for Communities must also step up to help ensure the acquisition of the site for regeneration using some of the powers that were meant to devolve to councils but never did. Indeed, the Ministry of Defence must also speed up its work to enable the future development of the site. Crucially, the Ministry of Defence needs to reconsider its disposal policy and work with the Department for Communities and the wider Northern Ireland Executive to align its previous disposal arrangements with other bases.

Kinnegar logistics base has been part of the Holywood landscape for years and must be utilised, in close consultation with local residents, to create jobs, deliver homes and help keep Holywood on the map as somewhere to live and do business.