Derry unveiled as 'Best Place' in North

Derry's iconic Peace Bridge. (Credit: Royal Town Planning Institute)
Derry's iconic Peace Bridge. (Credit: Royal Town Planning Institute)

Derry has been crowned the winner of the North's Best Places competition.

The nationwide competition, organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (R.T.P.I.) Northern Ireland, celebrates the places protected, carefully planned or improved by town planners for communities.

Nearly 4,000 people voted on a shortlist of 10 places, with Derry's historic centre emerging as the most popular place.

RTPI President Stephen Wilkinson said he was impressed with how in recent years Derry had been "re-defined as a city".

“Being crowned the Best Place in Northern Ireland is recognition of the outstanding work planners have made to the regeneration and reunification of the city.

"Good planning has been pivotal in the city’s hugely successful, ongoing waterfront regeneration focused around its historic core, the Peace Bridge and Ebrington barracks. Together these elements have re-defined the city as a great place to live, work and for new investment.”

SDLP Councillor, John Boyle, Deputy Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, said he was "delighted" to hear that Derry had won.

“We are absolutely delighted to have secured this prestigious accolade. It is testament to the fantastic work that has been done to regenerate the city through close collaborative working

“This award reflects the positive impact the Peace Bridge and Ebrington regeneration projects have had on both the local community and visitors.

"Symbols of the city’s positivity and aspirations for the future, they have contributed to our local economy and tourism offering, as well as our overall health and well-being.”

Beverley Clyde, Chair of RTPI Northern Ireland, praised the town planners who have been integral to Derry's regeneration.

"Planning has long left a mark on our only remaining walled city, laid out in the 17th century.

"The recent regeneration of Ebrington Barracks, the construction of the pedestrian Peace Bridge and the continued conservation of the City Walls and Guildhall demonstrate how the planners have successfully protected the built environment and improved connectivity between the Cityside and Waterside.

"Planners have also been central to the maintenance of the city’s original Renaissance layout, along with the fine examples of Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian buildings.”

The 10 finalists were: Antrim Historic Core; Country Antrim, Merville Garden Village; Country Antrim, Armagh Historic Core; County Armagh, Connswater Community Greenway; Belfast, The Cathedral Quarter; Belfast, Giant's Causeway; County Antrim, Rathlin Island; County Antrim, Lough Erne; County Fermanagh, Derry - Historic Core, Peace Bridge and Ebrington; County Derry and, Newcastle and the Mournes; County Down.

Rathlin Island and Armagh were voted second and third, respectively. Rathlin is Northern Ireland's only inhabited off shore island.