Top of the Hill needs a ‘community hub’

Representatives from community groups pictured at the site of the former community centre at Gobnascale. (2305SL57) Photo: Stephen Latimer
Representatives from community groups pictured at the site of the former community centre at Gobnascale. (2305SL57) Photo: Stephen Latimer

Community leaders in the Top of the Hill have called on Derry City Council to provide facilities for the area.

The call was made ahead of a motion which will be debated at the monthly meeting of Derry City Council this afternoon.

The motion, tabled by Sinn Féin councillor Lynn Fleming calls on the Council to prioritise the development of a new multi- purpose community hub for the area.

It states: “Due to the recent closure and subsequent demolition of the Top of the Hill Community Centre, Sinn Féin are calling on Derry City council to prioritise the development of a new multipurpose community hub which will service the many community and voluntary groups in the greater Top of the Hill area.”

Colr. Fleming said there is a huge need for community facilities in the area. “Derry City Council as a corporate body has failed miserably in terms of providing community infrastructure in this area.

“Since the demolition of the former community centre, which was unfit for purpose for the last 20 years, there is nothing in the Top of the Hill area.

“Hillcrest House is the only building in this area and it is used by all of the various groups and sporting organisations but space is limited and it is just not big enough,” she said.

The former mayor added; “The area has trebled in size in recent years with new housing developments an, as a result, the demand for community facilities has increased.

“This is the biggest neighbourhood renewal area on the east bank of the city and there is very little coming into it for community infrastructure.”

Karen Mullan from Hillcrest House said: “We are the only community building in the entire area and the reality is that it is simply not big enough. It is a disgrace that this area does not have a purpose built community hub.”

Colr. Fleming acknowledged that the Council is currently considering plans for a park for the area but added that additional facilities are needed in the interim. “It has reached the critical point now. We have done everything we can do for this community within the existing facilities. What we are looking for Council to do now is come up with a business plan that we can take to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and other funding bodies to seek funding to provide this community with the type of facilities it deserves,” she said.

Colr. Fleming also said she has met with representatives of other parties on the issue and hopes to get support for her motion.