£500,000 to progress new Sports Complex plan

Templemore Sports Complex. 0601JM16
Templemore Sports Complex. 0601JM16

Derry & Strabane Councillors have agreed to award £500,000 to finish a business case for a new Templemore Sports Complex.

The funding, which is already ring-fenced, would also be used to appoint a consultant team to look at costings and design, as well as scale and planning issues for a new centre.

The recommendation was one of many regarding major projects made to Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee at its March meeting on Tuesday.

Council’s Chief Finance Officer Alfie Dallas brought forward a report to the elected members on the committee asking them to approve the allocation of capital funding.

Since taking over in April 2015, Derry City & Strabane District Council has completed projects to the value of £23.66m, with almost half that money secured by the local authority from external sources.

Completed projects include Foyle Arena, new office facilities at the Tower Museum, community centres for Creggan, Tullyally and Lettershandonney, the Siege Museum, Newbuildings MUGA, and the Creggan Burn and Waterside Greenway projects,

Mr Dallas said that the Council has a fully approved and funded programme of works to the tune of £51.49m, and in addition to this, market testing for the sale or lease of a number of council sites is under way. The Council is also looking at new cemetery provision, play areas and more greenways across the new Council area.

The Council was told that in the interim it was important to use its remaining funds “to progress some of the key signature projects which have not yet been fully funded”.

As well as taking the Templemore Sports Complex plan forward, the other projects in Derry recommended for progressions include proceeding with bringing together consultant teams for a newbuilld community centre for Galliagh, and another at Shantallow, subject to external funding confirmation, and a third for Top of The Hill, as well completing the Bishop Street Community Centre.

A funding application has been lodged to advance the North West Greenways Network of cycle and walking routes to link Derry to Muff, Buncrana, Letterkenny, and Strabane and Lifford.

The proposals outlined yesterday will cost in the region of £1m.

Sinn Fein Councillor Brian McMahon said the council was to be congratulated on securing match funding for a range of projects.

SDLP Councillor John Boyle said the Council should be applying for money from the City of Culture Legacy Fund, claiming that some of this was being used by the Culture Minister to fund projects in Coleraine, Dungiven and even Ballymoney.

“How much are you applying for and do we know how much is available?” he asked, adding that the money should have been for Derry given that it was the UK City of Culture and the reason for the fund existing.

Council Chief Executive John Kelpie said the Council would leave “no stone unturned” in trying to secure funding from any government or other private-public funding stream.

Mr Kelpie added that the regeneration plans the council were taking forward were second to no-one.