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Bold attraction for Foyle riverside in Derry is revealed

Words: Roger Milne
River Foyle / iStock-628317310

A design for an ambitious riverside cultural and environmental tourist attraction in Derry has been unveiled.

Called Eden Project Foyle and developed by the Foyle River Gardens charity, the £67 million scheme is a plan to transform the banks of the River Foyle, linking the Boom Hall and Brook Hall estates and giving public access to previously inaccessible land.

The scheme is backed by the organisation behind the Eden Project, the landmark attraction in Cornwall that has welcomed more than 21 million visitors and contributed more than £2 billion to the regional economy in south-west England.

Artist’s impressions went on show this week of the proposed project’s centrepiece – a building inspired by Neolithic architecture and connected by a network of walkways.

Inside the building would be a performance area and play spaces. Visitors would be able to walk on the roof and take zip wires down to the walkways. The structure would nestle within the trees, made from a timber and thatch construction.

The initiative is being marketed as a beacon of cultural tourism and a community asset helping to drive social, economic and environmental regeneration in the city.

The development is intended to rejuvenate a 100-hectare site extending from the Foyle Bridge towards Culmore Point. Proposals include walled gardens, treetop and floating walkways, a water activity centre and play areas. The site includes 2.5 kilometres of the River Foyle’s bank.

The project would be owned by and operated for the benefit of the community. A charitable trust, the Foyle River Gardens, would own the project, which will be operated in partnership with the Eden Project, the award-winning environmental and educational charity.

The partners were encouraged by the UK and Irish governments including the project in the recent deal to restore power sharing to the Northern Ireland Executive.

Image credit | iStock