A chronic lack of available land is keeping potential new jobs – and firms – out of Armagh.
The demand for office space in the city is far outweighing what is available and Armagh I understands that one large firm – looking to bring 60 staff to the city – was forced to look to Monaghan due to availability of space.
Invest NI currently own land on the Newry Road but that is redundant given the fact it sits on a flood plain, meaning planning permission would be next to impossible to obtain for any potential suitors.
Speaking to Armagh I, Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon said the ball is a huge missed opportunity for Armagh to become a cross border hub, especially given the potential of the reinstated railway lines in and out of Armagh on both sides of the border.
It was also a point the SDLP representative raised at a recent ABC Economic Development & Regeneration Committee meeting.
He said: “Would it be possible for us to write to Invest NI and ask them to come to an appropriate meeting of committee?
“I’m dealing with an issue at the minute around businesses trying to get land in Armagh city. Invest NI currently have 7.5 acres on the Newry Road, all of which there’s interest in, but none of it can be used because of flood plain issues.
“So Invest NI currently have no lands in Armagh city for investors, and I think it’s a disgrace.
“I’d like an opportunity for them to come before the committee and have a discussion on it.”
Chair of committee, Councillor Kevin Savage (Sinn Féin, Banbridge DEA) told the SDLP representative: “We were speaking at a previous meeting about that and we are looking Invest NI to come anyway, so we are going to ask them to come [along].”
Additional reporting by Francois Vincent, Local Democracy Reporter