Community activists in Londonderry warned there is no opt out clause on the city’s regeneration blueprint and have demanded clarity about who is responsible for delivering the One Plan.
The call from the North-West Community Network (NWCN) comes after widespread concern was expressed earlier this week over the government's commitment to the plans.
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt recently exposed the fact that red alerts had been imposed on key aspects of the One Plan by civil servants. Government officials have assessed parts of the One Plan as a category five risk — the highest available — sparking fears this could result in parts of the plan being abandoned.
The NWCN said there was a a need for “reliable and transparent” communication about progress on the plans to date.
They have also called for a clear breakdown of what is required to deliver on each aspect of the plans, which have been adopted in full as part of the Executive’s Programme of Government. More than 1,000 experts from across various sectors were involved in developing Derry’s detailed plans to ensure its prosperity through until 2020.
Mr Nesbitt said he was amazed at the unprecedented high level of “risk matrix” marked against the Derry plans.
Senior figures from NWCN — which represents various groups across Derry — said that action was now needed to ensure the plans are delivered on.
They warned that the regeneration blueprint “was years in the making after significant effort by many, not least the diverse elements of the community and voluntary sector in the North West”.
The group said that those within their own sector remained “unswerving” in their approach to seeking progress against each of the catalyst projects identified in the One Plan.
They said the same level of determination was expected across all sectors.
NWCN representative on the Strategy Board, Colin Devine, said: “Let there be no doubt, the community and voluntary sector is committed to seeing the One Plan implemented.
“The One Plan encapsulates the needs and priorities identified by all our people, especially those closest to the margins, and this is what gives the One Plan its irrevocable validity.”
Eamonn Baker, chairman of North-West Community Network, said: “We — communities, community groups and citizens — have put an amazing amount of effort into creating a plan that meets our needs. What we deserve now is to see everyone working effectively, honestly and collaboratively to ensure this plan is implemented.”
The North-West Community Network has listed four action points:
- Clarity on who is responsible for delivery;
- Transparent communication about what progress has been made;
- Identification of barriers to progress;
- Detail on what is required to resource all aspects of the One Plan.
Proposals were delivered to every household
The One Plan for the economic regeneration of Londonderry was unveiled in 2010, with a summary delivered to every house in the city.
The 155-page plan was pulled together by Derry’s urban regeneration company Ilex. Hundreds of experts, community, business and civic leaders were involved in the masterplan, which set out a vision of Derry’s development up to 2020.
Among the key proposals were the creation of 12,500 jobs and the setting up of social enterprises and co-operatives to help regenerate the city.
The plans also involved the creation of a third road bridge and a new footbridge between Prehen and the Brandywell.
Central to the One Plan is the increase of places at Magee university from about 3,800 at present to 9,400.