Fresh start for Denny’s factory site

The Denny factory site.
The Denny factory site.
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The ABC Borough Council has struck a deal with owners Kerry Group to buy the former Denny’s site in Obins Street at a reported £480,000.

The ABC Borough Council has struck a deal with owners Kerry Group to buy the former Denny’s site in Obins Street at a reported £480,000.

It has been learned that nine-months of negotiations have been successful, and that the council is delighted to be completing the deal for the 6.15-acre site at what is seen as a bargain price.

A council source said, “It’s a large site convenient to the town centre, between Northway and Obins Street, and we intend to develop it for the benefit of the entire town.”

It is likely to be a ‘mixed’ development, incorporating social housing, industrial units and a road-cum-pedestrian access joining Edgarstown and Obins Street through to the People’s Park, fulfilling the hopes that the park will be convenient for the entire town.

And it is understood that Kerry Group – who are headquartered in Tralee and employ 24,000 people globally – want to retain a small administrative presence in Portadown and may remain within the Denny site.

Said the source, “It’s exactly the boost that the Obins Street area needs, with hopes of jobs, housing and infrastructure.

“ It has long been a forgotten area of Portadown, and when Kerry Group finally pulled out in April 2009, it was a real body blow.”

When they pulled out of Obins Street seven years ago, Kerry Group transferred their bacon 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.

Kerry Group, though, still have business interests in the area - they own Golden Cow at Artabrackagh which employs around almost 100 people..

Meanwhile, Translink are planning a park-and-ride facility nearby to serve the train station and help alleviate the parking problems at the Wilson Street approach and at adjacent areas like Park Road – there is currently major work on the railway Bridge at the approach to Obins Street and access from Woodhouse street is denied.

Neither the council nor Kerry Group are commenting “at this time”, but both indicated that an official statement was imminent.