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Ambitious blueprint for Derry city-region signed off

Words: Roger Milne
Londonderry / iStock_000025396490

An ambitious blueprint covering the Londonderry city region over the next 15 years has been launched digitally and endorsed by Derry City & Strabane District Council this week.

The Strategic Growth Plan identifies the need for around £3.4 billion capital expenditure as the city-region looks to create 15,100 new jobs and accommodate a population base expected to grow by 10,000 over the plan period.

The strategy includes a commitment to developing more grade A office accommodation and a focus on industry clusters in advance manufacturing, life and health sciences, digital and creative industries and tourism.

Key actions involve the preparation of a new local development plan for the district, and a development and conservation spatial framework and masterplan for both Derry city centre and riverfront, as well as Strabane town centre, to provide high-quality design and regeneration.

Also promised is a heritage/conservation-led masterplan and renewal action plan for the village of Sion Mills and other settlements, including Newtownstewart town centre conservation area.

In addition, the strategy highlights the development of regionally significant regeneration sites in Ebrington, Fort George, Derry city centre and Strabane town centre, in collaboration with government and private sector partners.

The blueprint backs the implementation of the Urban Villages Programme in the Bogside, Fountain and Bishop Street areas of Derry, to build community capacity and improve the physical environment of the area.

The strategy argues that the expansion of the Ulster University Magee campus and improvements to the road infrastructure, including the A5 to Dublin, A6 to Belfast and A2 Buncrana Road, will be key for the wider economic regeneration of the city-region.

Also proposed is the development and delivery of a sub-regional integrated transport strategy and implementation plan for the city and district, which will involve enhanced rail services and facilities, including more frequent connectivity to Belfast and Dublin.

The district council is hopeful that a city deal-style package involving government and local government funding will help to cement the plan.

Image credit | iStock