Durkan gives go-ahead for major development at Fort George, Derry

Ongoing work at the Fort George site, pictured yesterday. 0402JM83
Ongoing work at the Fort George site, pictured yesterday. 0402JM83

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today recommended approval to allow for the regeneration of the former MOD site at Fort George, Derry.

The major proposal sets out a development framework for the 6.2 hectare site and provides for a significant mixed use development to include residential, office, employment and education uses, retail, cafes, bars and restaurants and associated multi-storey and surface car parking.

The framework provides for up to 82,274 square metres of floor space and allows for decontamination and infilling of the site to establish new development levels to ensure that the site is ready for end users.

Mark H Durkan said: “This is great news for Derry and the wider region. The development framework provides the blueprint for the physical regeneration and investment priorities for this pivotal site.

“This is a major regeneration site in the City and the approval now provides certainty on the scale and type of development that will be acceptable. It also allows work to be completed on the decontamination of the site and ensures that the site is ready for inward investment.

“I believe that this approval will also serve to reinvigorate this part of the city both physically and functionally. It will have positive impacts on an improved public realm and river frontage.”

Welcoming the approval of Outline Planning Permission, Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA said: “This is a major step towards the further redevelopment of a strategic site which, as the success of the Science Park shows, can host the type of employment that will create real social and economic benefits for the city.”

Given the contamination on site and its location within a flood plain, bounded on one side by the river and on the other side by a major road junction, the securing of planning permission for the Development Framework has presented major challenges requiring the resolution of complex land management, habitats regulation, environmental and traffic impact issues.

The Minister added: “I am pleased that my Department, in liaison with DOE, has been able to overcome each of these challenges and put in place a blueprint to guide all aspects of the future development of the site.

“Planning Permission now allows my Department to begin the wider remediation of Fort George. Further challenges lie ahead, however, I have no doubt that the successful redevelopment of Fort George can trigger additional private sector development at the Northern end of the City.”