Launch event marks submission of planning application

Plans to transform the 140 acre former military site at Lisanelly in Omagh into a state-of-the-art post-primary shared education campus have been submitted to Planning Service. The project masterplan for the £100+ million project was unveiled at a reception at the South West College today by Education Minister John O’Dowd MLA. He was joined by the Programme Director Hazel Jones, the Joint Chairmen of the Lisanelly Shared Educational Group Rev. Robert Herron and Monsignor Joseph Donnelly, members of the Project Board, Lend Lease led Design Team, local politicians, representatives from local schools, the Department of Education, CCMS, the Western Education & Library Board and members of the local business community.

Speaking about the education campus masterplan Mr O’Dowd said,

“The proposed shared campus at Lisanelly is a visionary project that will enable the schools involved to retain their individual status and identity while working together to service the needs of the entire area, with enormous benefits for future generations of young people in the Omagh area.

“By making a commitment to progress this project in its recently published Draft Programme for Government, the Executive has signalled its intention to make this vision a reality. I believe that the Lisanelly Campus offers the potential to create a system which delivers educational excellence for all. Furthermore, the project will not only provide a short-term boost to the local economy, it will also provide long term economic benefits as the area’s young people will enjoy the best educational opportunities on offer. Today is therefore a significant milestone on the way to a shared educational campus for the town of Omagh.”

Welcoming the milestone in the project, Hazel Jones, the Programme Director for the Lisanelly scheme, said:

“Following over 12 months of consultation we are delighted to have now reached the planning application stage, bringing this major project one step closer to realisation. This is a unique and exciting project which will provide future generations of young people from the area with the opportunity to enjoy facilities that they would not otherwise benefit from if their schools were to remain on their current sites or redevelop elsewhere alone. The campus approach to education will afford young people access to the widest choice of curriculum and the shared facilities will be second to none”

Adding to the sentiments expressed by Hazel Jones, the joint Chairmen of the project Working Group Rev Herron and Monsignor Donnelly in a joint statement said,

“We are very pleased that the masterplan and concept design has been submitted to Planning Service. This project will have a particularly positive impact on social cohesion and education provision in the area, and the vast majority of people to whom we have spoken to date – parents, pupils, politicians, local business leaders, have expressed their support for the project.

“A project of this scale and type is a first for Northern Ireland and we believe that the shared education model will contribute substantially to the development of a, cohesive and sustainable community in Omagh and the surrounding area.”

The Lisanelly Master Plan exhibition will be open to members of the public from Monday 18th December until Friday 13th January 2012 at Omagh Community House, Drumragh Avenue, Omagh.