Ilex to lose key role to new super-council

The Ebrington Clock Tower pictured during the official opening of Ebrington Square on the site of the former British Army Barracks in February 2012.  Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.

The Ebrington Clock Tower pictured during the official opening of Ebrington Square on the site of the former British Army Barracks in February 2012. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.

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Ilex is to lose one of its main functions to the new supercouncil, the company have confirmed to the Journal.

Ilex’s responsibility to “create, promote and implement the regeneration of the Derry City Council area”- will be transferred to the Derry & Strabane council before it officially takes over in April 2015.

This will leave Ilex with a much narrower remit and focus- to develop the Ebrington site, with the company’s website now adapted to reflect this.

The move comes after the development of the Fort George site was also removed from Ilex’s portfolio last year.

Responding to queries submitted by the ‘Journal’, a spokeswoman for Ilex has confirmed: “In line with Ilex’s Business Plan, our primary objective is to re-develop the 26-acre Ebrington site to support an additional 1,800 net jobs in Derry and an additional £42m GVA (Gross Value Added).

“The new Council has responsibility for community planning and Ilex intends to transfer its responsibility for its secondary objective to Derry City Council in advance of the Review of Public Administration. Following this transfer to Council, Ilex will focus primarily on the redevelopment of Ebrington.”

The Journal can also now reveal that there have been 106 expressions of interest received to date, including 56 formal written expressions from those interested in setting up hotels, IT companies, retailers, digital businesses, not-for-profit enterprises, restaurants and cafes.

The former City of Culture offices at Ebrington will be reoccupied next week by Environment Minister Mark Durkan and 25 staff from his department. This will mark the first time a permanent workforce has settled on site.

Ilex said a “commercial opportunity” has also been identified for the building next door, with an expected opening within three months.

A cafe is also expected to be on site by next Spring, pending the granting of planning approval.

The Ilex spokeswoman said: “Ebrington is on target to support 75 jobs by the end of this financial year.”