Civil Service proposal could lead to regional hub at Newtownabbey’s Mossley Mill

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Mossley Mill in Newtownabbey has been named as a potential location for a new Civil Service regional hub.

Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors have been discussing behind closed doors the possibility of sharing a key civic building with the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

The issue was discussed in private at a meeting of the borough council on Monday evening.

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Last February, Finance Minister Conor Murphy announced plans for a number of new Civil Service regional hubs.

Mossley MillMossley Mill
Mossley Mill

The first hubs were earmarked for Ballykelly and Downpatrick with plans for additional centres in Ballymena, Craigavon, Omagh and Antrim and Newtownabbey. Projects in Londonderry, Enniskillen, Newry and North Down are planned for 2023.

The Department has also said that there will continue to be a “significant Civil Service presence” in Belfast city centre.

The Finance Minister explained: “These regional hubs will transform how civil servants work enabling them to be based closer to home, reducing travel time and lowering carbon emissions while importantly promoting regional economic balance.

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“We are working collaboratively with councils to maximise the local regeneration impact and to establish the hubs as soon as possible. I ask all elected representatives to support us in this work.

“These hubs are an exciting development in how the Civil Service estate operates and present a huge opportunity to make a positive impact on local economies, the environment as well as the health and well-being of our staff.”

Meanwhile, Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors were told at a meeting of the Policy and Governance Committee in December that some council property is being leased to businesses and organisations  as “quite an income stream for council” to “bring in some additional revenue”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Finance said: “Officials are working with the local council to finalise the location for a Connect2 hub within the Antrim and Newtownabbey area.

“The hubs provide access to flexible work space for NICS staff, they do not offer permanent workstations to any staff.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter