Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Opposition to proposed demolition of campus wall

A planning application to remove a stone wall which forms part of the boundary of Southern Regional College (SRC) campus in Newry has been met with strong opposition from local residents.

SRC is seeking approval to demolish the structure, which dates back to the 1820s, however locals have objected, claiming the wall is an important part of the city’s heritage as it is the last remaining section of the town’s old pig and cattle mart.

On Saturday, protesters gathered at the spot on Patrick Street to register their disapproval to the move and call on SRC to withdraw the application.

Lending his support to the campaign to retain the wall, MP Mickey Brady said it “cannot be demolished out of our history”, and on Friday he met with SRC senior management to discuss the issue.

“I believe there is now a clear understanding within the Southern Regional College management of the very genuine concerns by many about the proposal and the depth of opposition to the dismantling of this iconic wall.  What is needed now is a discussion with the local community and all other appropriate stakeholders with the aim in resolving the issue ending the current dilemma.”

Mr Brady confirmed he has also raised the matter with the Chief Executive of Newry Mourne & Down Council, Mr Liam Hannaway, and said he “made it absolutely clear to him the level of opposition to the planning application”.

 “As one who was born and raised in this community, I share the concerns of many that an important part of our built heritage could be lost, and will oppose this planning application. I will work with the local community and to ensure that our objections are heard at the highest level and that they are addressed.  The Mart was a key part of Ballybot’s and Newry’s social and economic life and cannot be demolished out of our history,” he said