Invest NI: No tenants at £6m Strabane business park

An Invest Northern Ireland sign at its Belfast headquarters
Image caption Strabane business park was opened by Invest NI in 2013

Invest Northern Ireland has defended its handling of a County Tyrone business park which has failed to secure a single tenant in three years.

Almost £6m has been spent on the 22-acre site on Strabane's Melmount Road.

Businesses had applied for tenancy but been put off by "red tape", said SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan.

Invest NI said they were in talks with six businesses and had not received any concerns from politicians.

At the opening of the park in March 2013, Invest NI also said six eligible companies had "declared an interest in acquiring sites at the business park".

It had been hoped the new facility would offer more opportunities in one of Northern Ireland's unemployment 'black spots'.

'Promised the moon'

"It was completed and sold to us as a golden opportunity for the area and it now looks like a white elephant," said Daniel McCrossan.

"I personally have been engaged with businesses where I organised a meeting with Invest NI officials in Strabane and we were promised the sun, the moon and the stars.

"Seven months later, there hasn't been a response, there hasn't been a phone call."

Mr McCrossan believes not enough is being done to secure interested tenants.

"Just last night I contacted other businesses and another gentleman told me he was in advanced stages of conversation and after two-and-a-half months has had no response," he said.

"I really have to ask Invest NI what are they doing proactively? As far as I can see they have done very, very little."

Invest NI said it had invested more than £5.8m to purchase land and develop Strabane business park.

"A company's investment within the business park is largely dependent on it securing the necessary funding to purchase a serviced site, develop their facility and achieve relevant statutory approvals such as planning permission, all of which can take some time and are outside Invest NI's control," it said.

"Invest NI has not been contacted by any public representatives or businesses raising concerns about 'red tape'."

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