Report due on health village plan

AN interim report on the viability of building a health and leisure village in Rathfriland is due out this week.

A private contractor had previously looked at the plan for a facility which is estimated to cost around £4.5 million but withdrew as the economic climate worsened.

Knockiveagh council candidate and Lesiure and Development Committee chairman John Hanna said he is looking forward to the report’s release.

“I welcome the fact that we are getting the interim report about the proposal for a one-stop-shop health and leisure facility in Rathfriland,” said Mr Hanna.

“The village would facilitate the GP surgeries, provide the possibility of dental surgeries, and other nurses and health facilities. The plan would include a leisure services upgrade of the present facilities at the Leisure Centre, retaining the football pitch and increasing the car park space.

The UUP candidate said people will need to work together to ensure investment in the plan.

“We need the GPs, the Department, the Health Trust and dentists on board,” said Mr Hanna. “It is still a proposal at this stage but we want to move forward with this. It seems as though the Health Trust does not have the money so we have options including council funding, a public/private partnership or a private contractor. We will have to see who is best value for money - we want to provide and optimum service at minimum cost.”