Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has met with key representatives from Derry’s city centre to identify measures to boost economic growth in the city.
DOE Planning has established a Retail Stakeholder Group in tandem with City Centre Initiative (CCI) to bring together key organisations to discuss ways to tackle trading issues affecting the city centre and promote economic growth in the area.
This includes retailers operating in both the Waterside area and cityside as well as other stakeholders such as Department of Social Development (DSD), Derry City Council and the Derry Chamber of Commerce.
Among the issues discussed by the group were:
* Dereliction funding - the Department of Environment provided £500,000 funding which has successfully improved the appearance and vibrancy of the city centre in advance of the Fleadh; Derry City Council is now working towards a further bid.
* Vacancy levels in Derry City and how to tackle these.
* Unauthorised retailing in industrial estates - consideration of how this could be tackled to prevent adverse impact on city centre trade.
Mark H Durkan said: “Bringing together a range of key stakeholders is a common sense approach to protecting retail in Derry city centre. Getting heads together around a table and thrashing out the key issues and more importantly - potential solutions - will help promote the vitality and viability of the city centre.
“I am personally committed to the regeneration of Derry City as the economic heart of the North West. Convening and supporting this group is further proof of this. The DOE has already played a central, positive role in the development of the city... My aim as Environment Minister is to build a better environment and a stronger economy. I understand retailers in the city face significant challenges.”