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Interface sports complex plan to unite communities

By Donna Deeney

Published 10/08/2016

Plans to develop the site of a former school on a peaceline into a sports complex for the two main communities at a Londonderry interface offer an "inspirational" hope for the future, residents have said.

A proposal for football pitches, rugby and Gaelic fields, tennis courts and cricket facilities to be used by the loyalist Irish Street and republican Top of the Hill communities has been submitted to Derry and Strabane District Council.

For decades unionists and nationalists in the Waterside have seen countless riots and sectarian fights at the interface. But work between community groups on both sides has brought a new sense of peace. Sinn Fein councillor Christopher Jackson said the planned sports complex on the site of the old Clondermott School will give both communities a place to come together, something lacking at the minute.

"There has been a tremendous amount of work done by community groups in both Irish Street and Top of the Hill which has been so successful in transforming this interface," he said.

"The one thing that has been lacking is somewhere solid where the two communities can meet up and this sports complex will plug that gap.

"Until now, if the two communities were taking part in a joint activity they had to get on a bus and travel somewhere else.

"There is an application for Peace IV funding for this and although this is a competitive pot, the thing that sets our application apart is the site itself and what the complex will do for the two communities."

An assessment of the cost of the development is being estimated but it is thought funding in the region of £5m will be needed to deliver the ambitious plan.

Belfast Telegraph

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