Plans outlined to restore Bessbrook tram station as £2m supermarket forecourt
Plans have been outlined to restore a 19th century tram station in Bessbrook, transforming it into a forecourt with supermarket and catering units.
The £2 million investment, being spearheaded by Glena Developments Limited, is expected to bring up to 55 full and part-time jobs to the village.
The project aims to redevelop the original structure as well as the surrounding waste ground on which the old station is situated.
“Our vision for the redevelopment of the Bessbrook tram station site has always been one that would look to serve an expanding local community in a modern, convenient and economically sensible way,” lead developer Damien Rafferty said.
“Plans to regenerate the site to integrate supermarket, refueling and catering units with a new generation of Bessbrook inhabitants at the foremost of our thoughts aren’t a far cry from the sentiments that drove the construction of the tram station and associated tramway over a century ago.
“The creation of up to 30 new permanent jobs at the new site, as well as other positions in construction and trade, is a nod to those visionaries who first pioneered this business link from the heart of Bessbrook.”
The tram station originally served as a terminal halt on the hydro-electrically powered Bessbrook and Newry Tramway, which transported passengers and freight between the town and mill village before ceasing operations in 1948.
Mr. Rafferty said that the group is acutely aware of responsibility of preserving a proud remnant of Bessbrook’s history.
“Whilst we strive to build for a better future for the people of Bessbrook, it is important that we remain wholly conscious and sensitive to the pride in its past. That said, our proposed scheme has been drawn up with such sensitivities in mind,” he said.
“Our architects, Clarman, have been creatively brilliant in their design proposals, which have allowed us to retain so many of the features of the original structure. We would encourage as many people as possible to take a few moments to view the digitally created walk-through video that has been uploaded to Clarman’s YouTube channel – Clarman Architects.”
“In conclusion, a proposed investment of over £2 million, the creation of up to 55 full, and part-time jobs, and with rates payable to local council upon completion, we see this as a significant investment in the Bessbrook community, and perhaps more importantly, one that can provide service for perhaps another century and beyond”, Mr Rafferty added.
Architect Cathal Reilly, at Clarman Architects, said: “The proposal represents a significant investment in the restoration and conservation of an existing historic asset, which is of significant socio-economic and historic significance within the local economy of Bessbrook, through a sensitive conversion to use, which is both viable and sustainable, thereby assuring the future of the historic asset, for future generations to come.”
To experience the virtual walk-through of the project, visit glenadevelopments.com/bessbrook