Work to start on e14m science park to start next year

Outgoing MLA Martina Anderson who was returned to Foyle.  (1005jB05)
Outgoing MLA Martina Anderson who was returned to Foyle. (1005jB05)

Work on Derry’s multi-million pounds science park at Fort George is set to begin next year and will be completed by Summer 2013, junior minister Martina Anderson has said.

Ms Anderson was speaking following a visit to the NI Science Park in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter yesterday. The ambitious plans could see the development of the high-tech facility at Fort George with a second phase in Letterkenny.

The former British army site at Fort George has been identified as a ‘satellite project’ of the NI Science Park, which is estimated to contribute more than £10m to the economy annually and currently houses more than 100 high-tech companies employing over 1,500 people.

The Foyle MLA said that a 14 million euro application for the North West Regional Science Park (NWRSP) has already been made to the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) to develop the state-of-the-art facility at Fort George.

The NI Science Park in Belfast is the lead partner in the bid, which is supported by urban regeneration company ILEX, and Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

“The NWRSP will operate as a profit-making but not profit-taking entity, with all profits being reinvested back into the development of the Park activity in the North West. To this end the NWRSP will provide 70,000 sq ft of highly quality flexible space across two locations in Fort George, with plans for it to be completed there by July 2013, and at the Letterkenny Institute by June 2014. Construction work on the Fort George site is planned to begin mid 2012,” Ms Anderson explained.

The Sinn Féin MLA said he development would create jobs and stimulate the local economy. “This project has, no doubt, the potential to stimulate the development of high quality technology and knowledge-based businesses in the North West and attract inward investment.

“This is potentially great news for the people of Derry and the surrounding area. These are exciting times; the City is being transformed with the regeneration plan, One City, One Plan, One Voice and City of Culture.”