A new masterplan for a huge swathe of Londonderry has suggested a fourth bridge could be built in the city.
The new bridge would be located between the Daisyfield area of the Brandywell and Prehen playing fields.
It was just one of a number of recommendations which were outlined in the Foyle Valley Gateway Strategic Masterplan, unveiled yesterday to a special meeting of Derry City Council’s development committee.
The report covered the area from the Letterkenny Road through to the Craigavon Bridge, the Fountain, Long Tower, Bishop Street Without, Lecky Road, Brandywell, Lone Moore Road and Stanley’s Walk. Key suggestions contained in the draft plan are revamping the Brandywell stadium and linking |it more closely with Celtic Park GAA grounds.
A separate presentation concerning the revamp of the Brandywell stadium was made at the meeting, but the completed proposals and costings expected will not be available for several weeks.
The final report could be further delayed due to the need to examine Derry City Football Club’s request that the consultants consider the provision of corporate boxes at the stadium.
There are also plans for new museum and sporting facilities, including a major new sports complex — to be relocated out along the Daisyfield and Riverside Park — which would link to Prehen playing fields across the River Foyle via the new bridge in the long-term.
Speaking about the possibility of a fourth bridge, James Hennessey, from Belfast-based urban design consultants the Paul Hogarth Company, said: “Is there scope for another bridge across the river? The benefits would be to connect the two parts of the city — the recreational and leisure facilities at the Daisyfield with the playing fields at Prehen.
“It would be something quite different to the Peace Bridge as it would be something like a park.
“Obviously this would be subject to much more consideration in the longer term.”
It emerged at the meeting that Derry City Council is in talks with Donegal County Council concerning the refurbishment of the railway line and Foyle Valley Museum along the Foyle embankment out towards the border as a major tourist attraction.The councils are now examining applying for European funding for the project.
Mr Hennessey suggested |moving some, or even all, of the city’s museums out to the Daisyfield to create a stunning visitor destination and bring tourists out via the train line or pathways, beyond the city centre, out along the Foyle embankment.
“This plan covers a massive geographical area, which to be honest has seen very, very little regeneration — practically none — over the last 40 years. We will be judged on the success or failure of the likes of the masterplan. It is a live document and needs to remain live; it mustn't sit on a shelf gathering dust.”
Councillor Kevin Campbell