The Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey, has admitted that plans to alleviate town centre parking problems in Coleraine are on hold.
Answering an Assembly question about car park proposals tabled by East Londonderry MLA, Mr Storey admitted that it could take a significant upturn in the economy to see proposed town centre schemes come to fruition.
He said: ““My Department has been working with developers for a number of years to take forward schemes aimed at providing a mixed use development comprising additional retail space, new housing increasing parking spaces at both Abbey Street and The Mall car parks in Coleraine town centre.”
He went on to explain: “The Abbey Street scheme would deliver at least 540 parking spaces; approximately 30,000 sq ft of retail accommodation; and 12 residential apartments.
“The Mall scheme would deliver up to 900 car parking spaces in three underground levels of car parking; approximately 171,000 square feet of retail accommodation; 700 m² of office space and 115 apartments above the retail floors.
“The schemes form part of the regeneration initiatives that were identified in the Coleraine Town Centre masterplan that was commissioned by my Department.
“These proposed developments are not, however, currently economically viable due to the mixed use requirements to provide retail space as well as additional parking spaces.”
Minister Storey said that his officials are continuing to work closely with the developers for the Lanes Scheme and the Ramparts scheme, to discuss proposals “but it is difficult to predict when market conditions will improve sufficiently and if the developers can secure the necessary finances.”
He added: “Funding support by the Department would be subject to a satisfactory business case and capital budget allocations as well as council priorities in the event of transfers under RLG.”