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Major ‘open space’ project next exciting step in redevelopment of former military base

The next step in the redevelopment of a south Armagh military base could get underway in the coming months – subject to planning approval.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has now brought forward additional plans for the old Forkhill Barracks.

It comes following the official opening of a new housing scheme on part on the land last October.

Now the council intends an ‘open space’ development.

It will see the provision of specially designed green spaces, including new planting and seating areas connected by a series of pedestrian footpaths.

A curved entrance feature in stone will welcome people to Forkhill – spelled in both the English and Irish.

Among the features will be a scaled model of the peaks in the Ring of Gullion.

Poles, all scaled to represent the heights of each, will be set alongside an interpretation board, in what is being billed as an ‘outdoor classroom’.

Artwork will feature on each pole to represent the mountains – depicting the flora, fauna and folklore, alongside the name and height of each.

An artist will be appointed to work on the designs which will be carried out in conjunction with the local primary school.

Another key feature of the plans will be a ‘compass’, made up of decorative paving and the ‘fingers’ pointing to locations across the island, such as Belfast, Dublin, Slieve Donard, Rathlin Island, Donegal Town, Carlingford, Limerick and Galway.

The application has been submitted by Newry, Mourne and Down Council and will be publicly advertised this week.

Last October saw the completion by Fold Housing Association of Park Urney in Forkhill, marking a further significant milestone in the redevelopment of the site.

The redevelopment of the military base – which was dismantled as part of the normalisation process brought about under the Good Friday Agreement – is being carried out in partnership with the Forkhill and District Development Association.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council jointly funded the appointment of Groundwork NI to assist Forkhill and District Development Association in bringing forward proposals for the development of the ‘green space’ in the overall site development and the production of design options and ideas which “bring creativity, innovation and excitement”.

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