Belfast Telegraph

Derry reaps the benefits of massive £450m spend

By Brendan McDaid

Almost £450m has been committed over the last year to help transform Londonderry into an economic powerhouse, it can be revealed.

A raft of different projects have successfully secured funding from the Government and elsewhere to get the city’s One Plan off to a flying start.

More than 1,000 experts worked together to develop an overall strategy for Derry’s economic future.

Spearheaded by Derry’s urban regeneration company, Ilex, the plan was launched on June 23 last year and endorsed by the Northern Ireland Executive in November 2011.

In February of this year the plan was embedded in the final Programme for Government and Economic Strategy.

The bulk of the money — £327m — has been allocated for the A5 road scheme and rail improvements to the Derry to Coleraine line.

Other major benefactors have included the team tasked with delivering the city’s UK City of Culture programme.

To date, £10m has been allocated for the City of Culture capital programme and £12.6m for events. A further £3.6m is being awarded for operational.

It was recently announced that £4.6m is to be handed over for a temporary, 4,000-capacity Vital Venue, which will host major indoor concerts during 2013.

The second phase of the Guildhall Restoration, the Maritime Museum and developing tourism in the Faugh

an Valley projects have attracted almost £8m.

Telecommunications giant BT has invested £3.5m to make Derry the most digitally connected city in the British isles.

The now opened Ebrington Square has drawn down £7.8m, with a further £6.7m being invested in a 250-space underground car park and £2.5m for a creative hub at the former Army base.

Around £9m has also been awarded to create a North West Regional Science Park, with £3.2m handed over for the decontamination of Fort George.

The priorities going forward have been identified and include the creation of 700 jobs, the completion of a new city-wide health plan and the establishment of literacy and numeracy projects.

A business case for phase one of the university expansion is also set to be completed along with a city lighting project and the decontamination of Fort George in the near future.

The one plan’s projects

1 — Sustainable & Connected City Region: £327m

Money allocated for the A5 and rail improvements

2 — Employment and Economy: £57.72m

Includes allocation for North West Regional Science Park, decontamination of Fort George and the City of Culture year

3 — Education & Skills: £7.32m

Includes funding for university expansion and Derry 2020 employment and education projects.

4 — Building Better Communities: £28.6m

Funding awarded for Ebrington Square and car park, NW Regional Sports Campus and neighbourhood renewal

5 — Health and Well Being: £28.5m

The amount allocated for the extension to Altnagelvin Hospital

Progress to date

  • 38 new digital businesses now at start-up stage and nine already trading
  • Digital Derry project up and running with links to London established. This collaborative project supports, promotes and grows the digital content sector in the north west
  • More than 800 retail and tourism sector workers and students trained in hosting skills
  • An additional 400 undergraduate places have been secured for the University of Ulster’s Magee campus
  • BT broadband infrastructre overhaul completed
  • Eight post-primary schools now have a virtual learning environment, using online computers as a teaching resource
  • City of Culture office open, funding secured and 2013 programme largely complete
  • Restoration of Guildhall and procurement process under way to set up creative hub at Ebrington
  • Peace Bridge and Ebrington Square finished and opened
  • Waterside foot and cycle greenway finished and opened; Foyle Valley Gateway draft masterplan completed

Belfast Telegraph


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