The Alderman for Lisburn North added the news Clanmill’s option to purchase had fallen through was ‘disappointing’, given that the company had already put a huge amount work into securing the project.
“There is no getting around the fact that the cost of decontamination is the main stumbling block so whoever eventually purchases the land will have to factor this in,” he said.
“Even though the option has expired, Clanmill have not ended their interest but there is a need for Minister Mervyn Storey to make the Hilden Mill project a priority for his Department otherwise we run the risk of the project not getting off the ground.
“The delays so far rest with DSD. Coupled with this week’s news that the Minister will not be transferring regeneration powers to Councils next April, it really is up to the Department to start leading.
“It is exactly six years since Edwin Poots as Environment Minister gave the go-ahead for planning permission for the former Barbour Threads site. Six years have passed and given the arson attack earlier this year we are even further away from turning the area around.
“The potential here is enormous – a riverside location with both residential and commercial units bringing a historic building back into use would transform Hilden. I am still hopeful this can get over the finish line but it really needs to go right to the top of everyone’s to-do lists.”