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Council asked to ‘hold fire’ on Necarne decision

A coalition of sporting organisations, including Fermanagh GAA, has asked the Council to hold fire on making a decision on the future of Necarne Estate.
Fermanagh GAA, Fermanagh and Western Football League, Enniskillen Running Club, Enniskillen Ladies Hockey Club and Enniskillen Rugby Club have come together to propose the development of a multi-sports facility to serve the needs of their organisations based at the Irvinestown Estate.
The proposed development involves facilities for Gaelic Games, Football, Rugby, Athletics and Hockey on a small portion of the 200 acre Necarne Estate.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has agreed to engage with the group on the proposed development, saying, “whilst this engagement can be facilitated, any proposals at the site should be progressed in the context of the current process, particularly given the stringent planning restrictions that will apply to the site.”
Despite this commitment, a Policy and Resources Committee meeting will take place tonight (Wednesday), and members may make a decision on the lease.
In July 2016, the council issued an open public invitation for proposals for the lease of the Necarne Estate and following the assessment, the Council decided that a proposal from Gardrum Holdings Ltd comprising of a multi-purpose tourism and leisure destination, comprising of a holiday retreat was the ‘most realistic.’ option.
The sporting group has now urged the council not to make any decision to proceed with a lease with a private organisation until such times as this engagement has concluded.
In a joint statement issued by the sporting clubs, they said:
“As representatives of sporting organisations in Fermanagh, we welcome the decision to engage with us about our ambitious and strategic plans for the development of a multi-sports facility to serve the needs of Gaelic Games, Football, Rugby, Athletics and Hockey on a small portion of the Necarne Estate.
“We are therefore disappointed to see a proposal being brought forward by Council Officers for the approval of Councillors this week, which would hand Officers the power to conclude a 99 year lease of the Necarne Estate before these discussions have taken place.
“We appeal to our elected Councillors not to proceed with the awarding of this lease until they hear from us with regards to our proposals for this development as part of the future of the Necarne Estate.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the development of sporting facilities in our district and we look forward to engaging with Councillors in the coming period and receiving their support for our proposal.”
Necarne Estate is currently leased by the council to DAERA as a specialist equestrian centre.
The current lease term runs to May 2023, but DAERA has expressed a wish to surrender early as the Department has had no significant activity at the estate since 2012.

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