Work on a new purpose-built government building on the site of the current social security office at Urney Road, Strabane, is due to begin in autumn 2014, subject to planning permission and the central procurement division’s tender process. It will be the venue for the Strabane DARD Direct office and a modern jobs and benefits office. I expect the full range of DARD services to farmers in the surrounding area to be available from this office by spring 2016. When delivered, the Strabane DARD Direct office will complete the full roll-out of 12 DARD Direct offices across the north.
Feedback from farmers about DARD Direct has always been very positive, and I believe that co-locating with DSD and DEL is a very cost-effective way for DARD to ensure that our customers in the north-west enjoy the same benefits as others.
I thank the Member for her question. Approximately 39 posts will be relocated to the new DARD Direct office. The majority — about 25 jobs — will be from Asylum Road, and the remainder, approximately eight people, will be relocated from Limavady. There will be about six people from our existing office in Strabane.