ABC Council has put in a bid to buy the former Denny factory site in Obins Street, with a view to kick-starting a major regeneration of the area.
The 6.15-acre site has been on the market for some time, and the Portadown Times understands the bidding process is at an advanced stage with owners Kerry Group.
A substantial six-figure bid is on the table.
Ideas being mooted include industrial units – similar to the CIDO project at Carn – social housing, and a road-cum-pedestrian connection from the Brownstown area through to the People’s Park, “to make it amenable to every section of the town”.
Translink are also creating a nearby park-and-ride facility for users of the train station, and it is hoped that the projects will open up the Obins Street area, which suffered a major blow in 2009 when the Denny factory closed as a production unit, with the loss of 95 jobs. Kerry Group turned it into an admin-sales centre and depot.
The borough council is refusing to comment on the bid, but highly-placed ABC sources have confirmed the local authority’s interest.
“It’s just what both the Edgarstown and Obins Street areas need,” said one council source. “The council has exciting plans to develop the site, and industrial units would be ideal.”
Production in the Denny factory ended in April 2009, with Kerry Group transferring its manufacturing operation to factories in England, ending a tradition going back to 1935 when Denny’s opened in Portadown. At one stage the factory employed more than 300 in the pig industry, producing a wide range of products.
But Kerry Group are vacating the site, although they still own Golden Cow at Artabrackagh which employs around 85 people.
Another success story is ongoing at Obins Street, with the bespoke furniture firm Terry Design going from strength to strength with 25 employees.
Said proprietor Terry McDonagh, “The regeneration of the Denny site would be a terrific boost for the area. It’s just what we need in this part of the town.”