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30/10/2015

Londonderry urban regeneration company to be axed

Words: Roger Milne
Londonderry

Londonderry's troubled urban regeneration company Ilex is to be axed next year after failing to bring in the expected private investment in the redevelopment of two former barracks, Ebrington and Fort George.

The announcement was made this week by The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).

The organisation will be wound up by 31 March 2016.

This is a year earlier than recommended by a critical report into the performance of the organisation published yesterday (29 October).

The body has had five chief executives over its chequered 12-year lifetime.

The remainder of Ilex's capital work projects will be managed by OFMDFM and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The report highlighted the lack of focus of the organisation, ‘mission drift’ when it got involved in the ‘City of Culture’ and Peace Bridge initiatives, flawed business cases and failures over infrastructure development.

First Minister Peter Robinson said: "We are grateful for all the work undertaken by Ilex at Ebrington since 2003, which has opened the site up for all the people of Londonderry and beyond.

"The reviews concluded Ilex should have a limited lifespan and its work should ultimately move to the local council - that remains the long-term plan.

"However, in the short-term, given the recent resignations of the entire senior management team, we have decided that the development of Ebrington will be led by OFMDFM."

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