A formal planning application has been made for the building of a new multi-million pound ‘civic hub’ in Newry city centre.
The state-of-the-art development has been earmarked for the site of the multi-storey car park just off Abbey Way, adjacent to Newry Cathedral.
The building will become the new home of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
The plans have been lodged for consideration this week with council planners.
The development has been some years in the pipeline.
According to a design and access statement, public realm works will encompass part of the surface parking and a section of Lower Water Street, subject to statutory consent.
The surface parking to the north of the site, at the junction of Lower Water Street and Abbey Way, will be retained, together with on–street parking and central car parking behind the Cathedral.
The statement adds: “The civic hub is an integral part of the regeneration plans for Newry city centre and to centralise local council services.”
Among other things, council believes it will increase visitor numbers to the city centre, facilitate further investment, instil civic pride through modernisation of council, and improve service provision.
The design and access statement says the new hub will have its “own unique and contemporary character, while respecting Georgian architecture of Newry city centre”.
The new hub would boast floorspace in excess of 60,000 sq ft.
It would house over 280 staff, with employees currently based at Monaghan Row, Greenbank, McGrath House and other facilities relocating on a permanent basis.
It would provide council, civic and public provision.
In terms of council, it would include office space, ‘breakout’ space, and ‘party’ rooms for the political groupings, as well as staff facilities, with workstation areas, personal and business storage, meeting rooms and IT hub, among the various elements.
There would be a wedding chamber and presentation room among the ‘civic’ space provision, while areas open to public space include, for example, will include, but not be limited to, reception, interview/meeting rooms, and citizens advice.
The proposals for the new development will be advertised shortly with a decision expected later in the year.