Residents optimistic that plans to demolish wall will be scrapped

September 10, 2018

Concerned residents remain optimistic that a planning application to demolish the perimeter wall of the Southern Regional College (SRC) campus in Newry will be withdrawn.  

Last week, a campaign led by local politicians to oppose the removal of the stone wall on Patrick Street, -which is deemed to be a historic structure as it once was the boundary of the former pig and cattle mart – gained momentum.  A public rally calling for the application to be withdrawn was held at the spot while the area’s MP Mickey Brady led a delegation of local community representatives in a meeting with SRC management.

Commenting on the events of the meeting, Mr Brady said: “We were assured by the Southern Regional College representatives at the meeting that the old Mart wall would remain as it is, and that a consultation process would begin which would involve all stakeholders including residents, local elected and community representatives. 

“We are not against modernisation and development, however there must be a balance and a commitment made to protect this iconic wall which is very much part of Newry’s, social and economic history. 

“Whilst we appreciate the opportunity facilitated by the Southern Regional College to discuss the issue which has caused huge distress to the local community, it is imperative that communication continues until all concerns are alleviated,” he added.

 Meanwhile Newry SDLP Councillor Michael Savage says has asked Newry BID (Business Improvement District) to co-ordinate a meeting with senior SRC management with a view to seeking alternative proposals to the removal of the wall.

Councillor Savage said: “I can understand the parking element of what SRC is trying to do with this proposal and I have always been supportive of SRC expanding its presence in our city to offer our young people a pathway to a career. However the tearing down of the old pig and cattle mart wall, which has been in Patrick Street from 1820, is a step too far and I believe SRC should go back to the drawing board and consult with local residents and Councillors on an alternative.

“I met with local residents at the launch of their campaign and petition on Thursday evening and the anger in the area to tearing down the wall is palpable. Residents in this area believe that the wall is one of the few landmarks of old Newry left in Ballybot and it must be protected. They live here 24/7 and see the wall as an historic and aesthetic feature that adds character to the area,” he added.

“Hopefully SRC will respond positively to this initiative to bring everyone around the table and we can work to come up with alternative proposals that meet the college’s needs and maintains its strong relationship with the people of Ballybot.”