THE old red brick telephone exchange building standing opposite the Buttermarket in Enniskillen could be developed into a key element in the regeneration of Enniskillen town centre.
That’s the view of a number of business people in the county town about an eyesore building which was was previously home to the telephone exchange in the 1960’s and later Fermanagh Enterprise in the 1980/90’s. The building was then sold in the late 1990’s and is now believed to be privately owned.
As the years have passed from the outside the building has begun to appear somewhat run down and dilapidated. The property also has an underground story too in that there are cellars, of which the condition is unknown.
Commenting on the building Cllr Robert Irvine said, “It has become a community hub, not quite an offshoot of the Buttermarket but working closely to that. Obviously the position that it’s in, it’s right on the island. It would be right for an appropriate development depending on what use it’s currently sitting at and if anybody was looking for change of use. I don’t think there’s a listing on it so it can be worked around.”
John Treacy, general manager at Fermanagh Enterprise added, “It’s a very old building, built with difficult times in mind. It’s built with engineering brick which is a very hard brick and would be expensive to work with.” He also pointed out that the organisation had moved to Lackaghaboy Industrial Estate as a response to increased demand for workspace.
Since Fermanagh Enterprise relocated the building in Down Street has not since been used to its full commercial capacity.
The building’s ‘prime location’ in the heart of Enniskillen would lend itself to development according to Niall Smyth from Smyth and Leslie Estate Agents. Mr Smyth remarked that, “The indication years ago was that any development of that particular site would have to involve consolidating the car parking within the locality.
“In terms of development potential, because it is situated beside the Buttermarket, and obviously the Buttermarket has become a focal point within the town, something that is commercially orientated would be a major asset to the town centre.” Mr Smyth went on to note that at present he was unaware of any planning applications with reference to the property.