Call for integrated Foyle Road and Brandywell development prioritising targeted housing, proper use of green space and improvement of ‘the Line’

An MLA is calling for more joined up development in the Foyle Road and Letterkenny Road areas of the Brandywell.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 5:18 pm

Karen Mullan believes planners must work with residents to ensure development suits the needs of one of the longest established areas of the city.

The Sinn Féin MLA said housing is a major priority but cautioned against focusing solely on single unit apartments which are not, she said, suitable for young families.

“There’s a big demand for housing and we’re limited in terms of the land that we have so we want good quality housing to meet the needs of families and individuals coming forward,” she said.

According to the MLA there is evidence more mixed use development projects that include housing appropriate for young and growing families are urgently needed.

“Young families and single parents take apartments but they need to move out a few years later because they are not really suitable.

“We need to build what is needed and required for the area. The housing mix needs to be right. There are a number of apartment blocks due to come on line in this area and we feel not enough housing is being developed for small families.”

Ms. Mullan’s preferred option is for brownfield development of mixed use housing that meets local need while ensuring green space from the Craigavon Bridge ‘out the Line’ is protected and enhanced for residents, other citizens from outside the area and tourists.

“You have that whole green space. The paths were put down many, many years ago. It’s ok but it’s not great. There isn’t an identified cyclepath, and plus you have all that dead space all along there. Could there be something put there for families? A park? I wouldn’t predetermine what goes there but look at other European cities and think about what we could do. I know, in the past, because my granny lived on the Foyle Road, summer seats had to be taken away because of vandalism. I think we are past that point now. There are no summer seats for people to stop and chat.”

Last week Ms. Mullan called for street lighting south of the Craigavon Bridge and the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon acknowledged it was an important issue.

“We’ve asked people what they think about having lighting put in and about how the green space could be better used and it’s something people would love to see,” said the Foyle MLA.

Another facet of developing the area is flooding. Certain estates have been prone to inundation during heavy rain fall.

“Myself and Patricia Logue [councillor for the Moor District Electoral Area (DEA)] have been working on that with NI Water and the Department of Infrastructure for quite a while to get them to do a review of what is going on. You can’t put any more pressure on that area until this is resolved. Houses at the end of the Letterkenny Road are often flooded and it’s not surface water.”

Ongoing development has to take account of the multi-million pound Daisyfield Sports Centre & Changing Pavilion which was approved last year and now awaits funding.

“The Daisyfield project will progress. It’s still awaiting further funding but we hope that will come forward.

“We’re working with the council and the Department of Communities to get that over the line.”

Ms. Mullan promised that she will be campaigning for more integrated development of this southern section of the city in the months ahead.