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Green light for fire station’s conversion to pharmacy

A PLAN to convert Omagh’s old fire station into retail units has been approved by planners.

A group of Omagh based pharmacists are behind the successful bid,  which will change the iconic building on Mountjoy Road into two retail  units and an office.

With Omagh Health Centre now vacated, and the pharmacy within the Old  Mountfield Road building soon to be relocated to the new Omagh  Hospital, Omagh Group Pharmacy Ltd’s plan would ensure a pharmacy  remains in a familiar and accessible area for many localpeople.

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Among the directors of the group are Arthur Kelly, Tom McGread and  Patrick Slevin, all belonging to well established town centre pharmacy  businesses.

The plan, which was submitted in December was signed off by planners  on June 27.

It will see minimal changes to the exterior appearance of the former  fire station, but the iconic fire engine doors will be replaced by  windows and doors with aluminium framework.

The planning report notes, “The re-use of this old building and  improvements to the building is a positive addition to this area of  the town centre, helping to bring about vitality and the use is  appropriate to the area. “

While some other planning proposals, located just outside the  invisible town centre boundary have fallen foul of planning policy,  
the old fire station rests just on the edge of Omagh town centre.

But the plan did hit a major obstacle in January, when Transport NI  recommended that planners refuse the bid.

Its opposition centred on the proximity to the busy road junction  between Mountjoy Road, Gortin Road, Old Mountfield Road and Lisanelly  Avenue, citing an “unacceptable level of conflict” by the increased  levels of vehicles entering the site.

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Transport NI also said that adequate provision could not be made clear  of the highway for the parking, turning, loading and unloading of  
vehicles using the site. They reiterated its opposition in April,  prompting a series of changes to the original plan.

The roads body eventually stated it was satisfied with the changes on  June 21. Planning permission was accordingly granted with a number of  conditions.

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