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Council calls for tree protection at hospital site


THE cross-border estate agency tasked with selling the former Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh intends to request closing bids for the 20-acre site late next month, it has been revealed.

In February this year, the Western Health Trust announced that it had appointed Lisney, which has offices in Belfast, Dublin and Cork, to sell off the derelict site after it was deemed to be surplus to requirements.

The grounds had been lying empty since the ‘County’ was closed in June 2017, with services moving to the new Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex on Donaghanie Road.

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It had emerged that the Trust’s bill to maintain and secure the site of the former hospital had reached £557,500 – and was rising with each passing month.

The landmark site, which comprises a large number of existing buildings, a tennis court and ten car parks, subsequently went up for sale on the open market in June.

A spokesperson for Lisney said that the firm had experienced a “high level of interest” in the 19.79 acre site since then.

“We presently intend requesting closing bids from interested parties in late November,” the spokesperson added.

But any potential sale could be complicated by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s move to protect more than 60 trees located in the grounds of the former hospital.

In a report prepared for the latest meeting of FODC’s Planning Committee, it was recommended that councillors confirm proposals to place a permanent Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on 66 of the 96 trees surveyed on the 20-acre site on Hospital Road. Council officers believe there is “significant public interest” in protecting these trees.

But the Western Trust objected to the order due to the “potential impact” on the ongoing efforts to offload the land.

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However, in response, council officers argued that the protection of the trees would only preclude development in a “small area” of the overall site.

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