Plans to redevelop the Old Waterside Station in Derry have been given the thumbs up by the north’s Transport Minister.
Danny Kennedy said he was giving the project the go ahead after a consultation undertaken by Translink on proposals for a new rail station in the city identified the refurbishment of the old waterside station as the preferred option.
“It is clear from the consultation that there is a strong attachment to the old Waterside station. It is an important part of the city’s built heritage and once refurbished has the potential to serve as an attractive destination for tourists arriving in the city.
“However, there are wider opportunities which I feel we should look to take advantage of as we develop this project.”
Referring to his recent study tour of Copenhagen and Malmo in Sweden, the Minister stated “I have been inspired by what I have seen elsewhere and the role that cycling and public transport can play in creating accessible and attractive urban environments.
“In light of that and the extensive work already undertaken to develop walking and cycling infrastructure in Londonderry, I believe we have a unique opportunity to deliver an innovative and inspirational project which reflects the ambitions the City has set for itself in the One Plan.”
Setting out his vision, the Minister said there is the potential for the refurbishment of the old waterside station to create an innovative active travel and public transport hub.
He said: “This hub would serve the wider city and surrounding area. It could assist in the regeneration of the city and enhance the reputation and vibrancy of Londonderry.
“The aim of the project would be to provide facilities for cyclists including parking, changing and maintenance within a refurbished station. In addition the station would be linked directly to the Peace Bridge and existing greenways.”
Opportunities would also be explored to extend walking and cycling infrastructure in the city, including between the university, Ebrington and cross-border links.
Concluding the Minister said: “While this offers major economic benefits, I also want to ensure the local community benefit from this project, both through improved economic opportunities and as part of a wider process to improve the local environment and quality of life.
“This project is at a very early stage and delivery will be subject to securing funding. However, I have asked my officials to engage immediately with key stakeholders to develop detailed plans.
“It is particularly important that we also engage with local groups and so I have asked for a forum to be established to develop the scope of such a project and to explore funding options.”