Northern Ireland

Planning permission granted for Strabane business park

Invest Northern Ireland has been granted planning permission to develop a new business park in one of Northern Ireland's unemployment 'black spots'.

It is understood that plans for the site at Melmount Road in Strabane include a new hotel and retail units.

Invest NI does not yet own the land, but has been urged to acquire it as soon as possible.

Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty said Strabane was losing out on investment because it lacked a business park.

The West Tyrone MP said: "In recent years economic investment, both inward and indigenous, has been lost to the district because of the lack of industrial land."

Mr Doherty has been lobbying the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for some time, asking for the issue to be addressed.

He told BBC Radio Foyle: "With all our efforts to bring interest to Strabane the biggest single barrier that we have always come up against is the fact that we did not have a business park and did not have land available.

"We already know of three businesses that could not expand within Strabane because there was simply no room and we know of two others that wanted to come and locate in Strabane but were unable to do so."

"We have come a long, long way in this battle and the final step now is for the minister, Arlene Foster, to buy the land," he said.