Belfast Telegraph

Fury at Translink refusal to release Waterside railway station report

By Garrett Hargan

There has been outrage at Translink’s decision not to publish the results of a public consultation about the future of the Waterside railway station in Londonderry.

The company has refused to make their decision public until at least February — a staggering 10 months after the consultation closed. The options were to either refurbish the current station, to relocate to the old Waterside railway station or to build a new station at Ebrington near the Peace Bridge.

John Dallat MLA, SDLP regional development spokesman, said he was told unofficially in September that the old station building was to be re-acquired.

Mr Dallat considers it absurd for the building to be left in its current state and believes it paints a poor reflection of the city in such a vital year for tourism in Derry.

He said: “It is a travesty of justice that the building has not been restored when people have basically had to use a basic shed in the meantime.

“It is the City of Culture year and this is now how we want to represent Northern Ireland's second city to visitors.

“It has been an ongoing problem with Translink and how they neglect keep us informed.”

It is Mr Dallat’s understanding that the latest postponement was to allow Translink to carry out a cost analysis to decide whether renovating the building would be value for money.

He added: “The public have already voted at the end of last May and they want the building restored. It is the most sensible decision.”

The Assemblyman said that Translink is supposed to be a transparent organisation yet he believes it is placing another obstacle in the way of development.

Campaigner Eamonn McCann, who is part of the rail lobby group Into the West, said he was disappointed and angry at yet another postponement, particularly after plans to redevelop the A5 dual carriageway were put on ice, freeing up money for transport.

Mr McCann is an advocate of having the old station restored.

He said: “The decision further outlines the neglect of the Derry area. We believe the public consultation process demonstrated overwhelming support in favour of renovating such a unique building. It has been taken up with the Department of Regional Development and should be accepted as the people have spoken.”

A Translink spokesman said: “The results of the public consultation report were shared with the Department for Regional Development in early September and we have been asked to take forward an economic appraisal, which would look at all costs and benefits and funding scenarios.

“The economic appraisal is currently being completed for the department and once they have considered this, they have stated that the consultation report will be published.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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