Owen Gawith, Alliance candidate for Downshire West, says:
“It is great to see the Balmoral Show again at the Maze, following the success of the event last year. Sadly this is the only positive achievement to report at the Maze Site, after many years of political wrangling and a considerable amount of waste of public money.”
In answer to an Assembly question from Trevor Lunn, OFMDFM confirmed that £974,000 has been spent on the conflict transformation centre. This figure includes EU and Heritage Lottery funding which had to be refunded after the plans were pulled. Everyone agrees that the Maze site has enormous potential for inward investment and badly needed jobs but the project has continually been blighted by political disagreement, firstly over the proposed Stadium and then the Peace Centre. Similar political disagreement has blighted the John Lewis development at nearby Sprucefield.
Owen adds: “I hope that potential investors will not be put off and the example set by the RUAS will encourage others to follow their lead and establish on this prime site. Northern Ireland has so much to offer, as evidenced by the recent job announcements and the success of events such as the Giro D’Italia and the World Police and Fire Games (which was originally to be held at the newly built Maze Stadium). With the right political leadership the Maze site can play its part in the future economic development of Northern Ireland.”
(i) In 2013/14 the Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation (MLK DC) was allocated a budget of £7.3m from our Department. £974k has been spent on the Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Centre project primarily made up of EU funding and Heritage Lottery funding. £540k EU funding which had been drawn down has since been repaid.
(ii) As a result of the full regeneration project not being pursued at present, the remaining Departmental budget the MLK Development Corporation had for 2013/14 was £3.4m.
(iii) Unspent funding for 2013/14 is not carried forward to the 2014/15 allocation.
(iv) Our Department surrendered £3.5m to the Department of Finance and Personnel in 2013/14 for their reallocation. The remainder was reallocated within this Department.
Please note, rounding applies to all the figures cited above.