Derry can ‘turn curve’ says new city road map

Council Chief Executive, John Kelpie.
Council Chief Executive, John Kelpie.

An evolving community plan for Derry and Strabane suggests the city and region can ‘turn the curve’ and actually achieve a significant reduction in unemployment in the years and decades ahead, the Council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee was told on Tuesday.

Members were given an update on the hugely detailed ‘Making it happen: Strategic Inclusive Growth Plan,’ which is backed by Council, local communities and local business.

Chief Executive John Kelpie, presenting the draft plan to the committee, advised members it sets out a long term and ambitious vision that will see the city totally transformed if it is realised.

The plan, once implemented, by 2030 aspires to spend £3.5bn on capital development in the area, create in the region of 10,000 jobs and ‘turn the curve’ on forecasted trends for deprivation, social exclusion, population decline and outward migration, Mr Kelpie reported.

The draft of the plan, which was presented to members, suggests the capital programmes underpinning it could see the economic and social landscape in Derry and Strabane transformed by 2030 through the attraction of 1,100 additional people to the area and £486m of additional Gross Value Added (GVA).

Mr Kelpie said implementing it could see the chronic unemployment that has plagued the North West for decades significantly reduced.

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper welcomed what he described as a very detailed update and report.

He said his party would be happy to stand over the wider economic proposals and projections contained within the draft plan.

He said the prize of unemployment being reduced was a prize worth having alone.

SDLP Councillor John Boyle echoed Councillor Cooper and thanked “everyone for working so diligently and so hard in delivering the plan over the recent months and, indeed, years now.”

Chair of the Committee Drew Thompson also praised officers and stakeholders for their “tremendous work,” which has been critical in getting to this stage.

The Transition Community Planning Partnership, which includes Council as a statutory partner, will now consider the draft content of the plan over the next fortnight and provide feedback.

It will then go out to public consultation for 12 weeks.