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Call for action at the Maze as £350,000 is spent on maintenance

Work starts on the demolition of the site in 2006. Picture Pacemaker
Work starts on the demolition of the site in 2006. Picture Pacemaker

THERE have been calls for immediate action to be taken to develop the Maze after it was revealed that £350,000 has been spent on maintaining the listed buildings on the site in the past four years.

The figures were contained in a reply from the OFM/DFM to a question by Sinn Fein MLA Paul Butler in the assembly.

Last year, the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister agreed a £225,000 contract for maintenance of the next three years.

Mr Butler said the money was essential to ensure that the listed buildings, which included the jails hospital and some of the H blocks, would not fall into disrepair.

"Our concern is that efforts are being made to de-list the already listed buildings," he said. "These buildings are listed and have gone through the proper statutory process and should remain listed. What we do not want is for the buildings to fall into disrepair."

Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn said a redeveloped Maze site would be a 'perfect economic catalyst for Northern Ireland.'

"It's time that the redevelopment of the Maze started," he said. "These costs underline the urgent need for work to begin there. I hope that Lisburn does not have to wait much longer because the town deserves delivery on this project."

He added: "A redeveloped Maze site would not only bring benefits for our hard pressed construction industry but also to other sectors in the longer term.

"This is a site with massive potential which needs to be fulfilled as quickly as possible for the good of the area and the wider economy."

The Maze site was last used as a jail in 2000 after the last of the prisoners left following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Ulster Star