Community views sought as consultation opens on second phase of NI fire training college

A pre-application community consultation process will begin this Thursday on plans for the second phase of development of Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service’s (NIFRS) Learning & Development Centre at Desertcreat, Cookstown.
The NIFRS Learning & Development Centre just outside Cookstown, which includes a Tactical Firefighting Facility that opened in September 2019.The NIFRS Learning & Development Centre just outside Cookstown, which includes a Tactical Firefighting Facility that opened in September 2019.
The NIFRS Learning & Development Centre just outside Cookstown, which includes a Tactical Firefighting Facility that opened in September 2019.

In line with the current COVID-19 regulations, NIFRS has made changes to how the consultation will be carried out.

Two virtual consultation events will take place on Thursday 8 October, the first between 2pm and 3.30pm and the second between 6pm and 7.30pm.

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Any local residents wishing to join these events should email [email protected].

Between October 8 -22 members of the public will also be able to give feedback or request more information by emailing [email protected] or by calling 02892 664221 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm).

Information boards will be located at LDC Cookstown, 120 Dungannon Road, Cookstown BT80 9BD which can be viewed by appointment, in line with and subject to COVID-19 restrictions.

The public will also be able to view information on the plans and provide feedback on a dedicated website between 8 October and 22 October.

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The consultation will allow members of the public to have their say on the plans which represent a significant investment in the area by NIFRS.

The plans include a specialist driving and road traffic collision training area, a training environment for collapsed buildings and below ground rescue and a “call out village” which will include a bungalow, a semi-detached dwelling and a detached dwelling.

The first phase of the project was opened in September of last year and included a Tactical Firefighting Facility.

After consultation the proposals will be submitted to Mid Ulster District Council Planning Service by the end of 2020.

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Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Michael Graham said: “I’m really proud that, despite the challenges of COVID-19, we’re able to bring forward these plans for consultation in what is a huge investment, not just in our employees, but in the safety of everybody in Northern Ireland. Our Learning & Development Centre is a key cornerstone in the creation of a safe and effective, Fire and Rescue Service capable of responding not just to today’s challenges, but the challenges we will face in the future. This is also a significant financial investment in the Cookstown area.

“These plans include facilities which will mean our Firefighters are able to train in state of the art facilities which will give them crucial experience in dealing with the hazards they face while protecting our community.

“I want to thank everyone who has worked hard to bring these plans to the point where we can consult on them as well as Mid-Ulster Council and the Department of Health for their continued support.

“The way we are carrying out this consultation is different due to COVID-19, but feedback from the community is really important and I would encourage all local residents to take part in the consultation on these exciting plans.”

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