Derry is in line for a major £150 million development which will create 2,000 new jobs, local councillors were told this week.
At the monthly meeting of Derry City Council’s planning committee, councillors were briefed on major plans to build an hotel, offices, cinema, and healthcare facility on the Crescent Link in the Waterside area of the city planned by the Orana Group.
Jim Sammon from Sammon Surveying said a number of end users of the development, including supermarket giant, Sainsbury’s, and hotel chain, Premier Inn, have already signed contracts to come to the site when it is built and that others are waiting for final planning permission to be granted.
He asked councillors to support the plans in principle.
George Long from GSB Guernsey Trading described the development as a “very very significant investment” for the city.
“This will be a balanced mixed use scheme creating 2,000 jobs. The rates benefit to the city will be £2.5 million per annum and the wages bill will be £40 million per annum. This is not a speculative scheme, we have signed contracts from operators and end users. Three different cinema operators are extremely keen and we have a letter of offer from a primary healthcare group. We are also in negotiations with a major electronics company and are making good progress on that,” he said.
SDLP group leader, colr. Gerard Diver welcomed the proposals. “This is a very significant proposal for our city. In the current climate we need jobs and investment in our city if we are serious about developing Derry as a regional capital. Council should support these proposals in whatever way is appropriate,” he said.
DUP alderman Joe Miller also gave his party’s support. “This is a wonderful opportunity, not just for the Waterside, but for the entire region. I can see no reason in the world why this council cannot signal our support for this,” he said.
Sinn Féin councillor Elisha McLaughlin also welcomed the confirmation from Mr Long and Mr Sammon that social clauses will be built into the contracts, ensuring that jobs are created locally. “It is not often that we hear such a good news story and this has to be welcomed. It is encouraging to hear that there is certainty of jobs and even more encouraging to hear that there will be certainty of jobs for Derry people,” she said.
All parties on council gave their support to the proposals.