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Green light for Ebrington Barracks revamp

Site to be transformed by museum, hotel, restaurants, offices and homes

By Linda Stewart and Donna Deeney

Published 09/01/2016

An artist’s impression of how the Ebrington site will look
An artist’s impression of how the Ebrington site will look
The site as it looks at present

Ambitious plans for a mixed use development at the 10.5 hectare site at the former Ebrington Barracks in Derry have been given the green light.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan announced he had granted permission for outline plans to regenerate the 1840s site with homes, offices, cafes, restaurants and more.

It will be the largest single regeneration site in the city.

The development, overseen by Ilex Urban Regeneration Company, takes in 83,000 square metres of gross floor space, with 7,200 for museum and heritage; 11,500 metres for hotel and leisure; approximately 19,000 for commercial office space; 21,000 for creative industries and education, and 98 for live/work units and other ancillary uses including cafes, restaurants and parking.

Mr Durkan said the application was turned around within 10 months of receipt. "This is good news for the city and wider region," he added. "This application sets out a blueprint that will be a boost for business, tourism and people in the area by revitalising the 1840s site with new homes, offices, cafes, restaurants and museum and arts facilities.

"It will also bring many construction jobs in the short-term, as well as long-term job creation."

First Minister Peter Robinson said: "This approval is a welcome development and will have a positive impact on the people of Londonderry. This is another positive step in regenerating the north west and is part of our wider plans to create the conditions to revitalise and rejuvenate the Ebrington site."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: "The further development of the Ebrington site will transform not just the landscape of the city but also the economic prospects of the north west. We must make every effort to create jobs for people, and developing the site at Ebrington enables us to provide a compelling proposition to potential investors."

But the chief executive of the local Chamber of Commerce, Sinead McLaughlin, complained that the process had been much too slow.

"While the approval of an outline framework for the development of Ebrington is to be welcomed, this is limited progress for a site that was handed over to the city by the UK Government some 13 years ago," she said. "While it had been expected that the benefits would be felt for the current generation of citizens, it seems that the benefits will go to a future generation in 2033. Local businesses have been frustrated."

The former military barracks has significant historic importance, with a number of listed buildings and a star fort considered to be the finest example of its type in Northern Ireland.

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