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.
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.
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.