Cracked render and vegetation growing out of grates on Ebrington clock tower façade prompt calls for better upkeep

Vegetation growing out of grates and cracked render on the façade of the Ebrington clock tower have prompted calls for maintenance of historic buildings on the landmark site.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 5:04 pm

SDLP MLA Sinéad McLaughlin said it is important that the fabric of the estate continues to be maintained nearly two decades after Ebrington was transferred from the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM, now the Executive Office (TEO).

“It is astonishing that 18 years after the Ministry of Defence handed over the Ebrington site to the Northern Ireland Executive, we still have core buildings in disrepair and much of the Ebrington site undeveloped. This is a scandal that makes me angry and should make people across the city angry.

“The Executive Office needs to make much faster progress not only in developing the site, but also in ensuring that historic buildings are in good repair. They need to be maintained to prevent them becoming further damaged. Derry has lost far too many of our historic buildings over the decades. It is essential that we protect and keep in good condition those historic buildings that we still have,” said the SDLP economy spokesperson.

Derry North Atlantic (DNA) maritime museum to open in 2024 with plans for second grade A office block at landmark Ebrington siteA TEO spokesperson said: “The Executive Office continues to take forward works to help preserve and conserve listed/retained buildings on the Ebrington site. This is in line with our obligations under the Protocol for the Care of the Government Historic Estate. As part of that programme, conservation and preservation works commenced on the Clock Tower buildings (67/68 and 69) in late March 2021 and are expected to continue through to Summer 2021.”

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson said she has been working with the Strategic Investment Board and officials in TEO to move things forward.

“There will be scaffolding going up this week right around that building for enabling works so that construction can begin at the new Hotel in the summer. Unfortunately, it may look worse before it looks better. But better it will look and as this year has shown there is life being breathed into the entire site by TEO ministers, as evidenced by joint first minister Michelle O’Neill response to my question last week. The TEO has given permission for another development opportunity at the Grade A space which will see both the carpark and possibly another Grade A opportunity advanced.”

Work on a new hotel at the clock tower is expected to get underway this summer.