Brandywell business case in final stages

Carál Ni Chuilín, Culture, Arts and Sports minister, pictured at the Brandywell duirng a visit to the city. Included, areTony O'Doherty, Raymond McCartney, MLA, and Derry City Football Club Chairman Philip O'Doherty . (2806Sl16)

Carál Ni Chuilín, Culture, Arts and Sports minister, pictured at the Brandywell duirng a visit to the city. Included, areTony O'Doherty, Raymond McCartney, MLA, and Derry City Football Club Chairman Philip O'Doherty . (2806Sl16)

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A business case for the redevelopment of Brandywell stadium is near completion, Derry City Council has confirmed.

The confirmation came after this week’s announcement that the millions of pounds look set to be made available for the project in the short to medium term.

It’s expected that £7m of a £31m Stormont funding pot - which has been freed up by a deal agreed between Linfield and the Irish Football Association - will now go towards the upgrade of Derry City Football Club’s home ground. The redevelopment will also take into account the other tenants of the Derry City Council-owned facility which are the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company and the Derry and District Football Association.

A spokesperson for Derry City Council has explained that it hopes to receive a copy of the business case from consultants in the coming weeks. “The Council will review its content before bringing it before a Special Development Committee meeting for discussion,” the spokesperson added.

Derry City FC Chair Philip O’Doherty paid tribute to the Derry City Council for its careful preparation which will allow it to “hit the ground running” when funding becomes available.

“The council has been working hard on this project and having already appointed consultants, I understand that their business case is almost completed with project drawings and costings already in place,” he said. The funding will address the well documented health and safety issues at the Brandywell and provide a new stand on the Lone Moor Road side of the ground - incorporating dressing rooms, corporate facilities and seated accommodation for between 3,000 and 4,000 spectators.”

Reports that the stadium is in line for a capital funding boost from Stormont has been hailed as long overdue by local politicians.

SDLP Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood said the money would provide Derry with a stadium suitable for the 21st century.

“If this capital funding is indeed forthcoming, it is good news for this city and for Derry City FC fans alike. The Brandywell stadium as it presently stands is not capable of meeting the needs of this city, whether they be footballing needs or commercial needs. A new stadium will hopefully set this right, providing a top class sporting and cultural facility for all the people of Derry.”

Sinn Féin Assemblyman Raymond McCartney has called on Derry City Council Chief Executive to seek an urgent meeting with the IFA to secure funding for the Brandywell redevelopment. “The announcement that the IFA and Linfield Football Club have come to agreement on the future of Windsor Park sets the scene for the release of a second tranche of funding for redevelopment of other stadia. As a Council owned facility it is incumbent on Derry City Council (DCC) to act immediately to secure funding for the upgrade of Brandywell Stadium. I am therefore calling on the DCC Chief Executive to seek an urgent meeting with the IFA to insist that the Brandywell is included in the allocation of the expected £31million second tranche disbursement.”