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Cllr hopes Necarne can kickstart Irvinestown economy

THE COMMUNITY in Irvinestown and beyond have been assured the Necarne Estate will remain open to the public, regardless of any potential development.
Last night a meeting was due to be held in Irvinestown, arranged by the Saving Necarne group in response to growing concerns in the community about the future of the historic site, which is popular locally for its scenic walks and peaceful surroundings. 
In 2018 Gardrum Holdings Ltd submitted a proposal to the Council to lease and develop the site into a holiday retreat, with a promise to keep the site open to the public and improve its walkways and cycle routes. 
However local fears over the development have persisted. The Saving Necarne group has claimed the development would destroy the estate, and even used a photoshopped image of a bulldozer in front of the castle to promote last night’s meeting. 
The plans will be voted on by the Council next Wednesday night, but it will be discussed in confidential matters. The fact the issue is not being discussed in public has added to the growing mistrust and uncertainty of the proposed development, according to local Cllr Adam Gannon. 
“Some people think it will be a really good thing, some people are wary of it, especially regarding the public access,” he said, adding he was focused on making sure community concerns were addressed. 
“Otherwise I wouldn’t be supporting it and I would be voting against it, if those concerns weren’t addressed,” he said. 
Cllr Diana Armstrong said she had been given assurances public access “will remain as it is” and walkers, cyclists, and dog and pony owners would all still be free to use the site. 
Stating she feels the development would bring investment and employment on “a scale not seen since the days of Desmond’s Factory, the Daintyfit Factory and West Ulster Farmers Creamery.”
“It is now time to embrace a new chapter in the history of Necarne which will bring the estate alive with assured investment,” said Cllr Armstrong. “This is a good news story for Irvinestown, for Fermanagh and its tourism industry.”

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