‘Slow progress’ at Ebrington shows ‘lack of commitment’- McLaughlin

Foyle MLA Sinéad Mc Laughlin has criticised the state of development at Ebrington.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 12:21 pm

She said that the ‘slow progress’ of the site’s development was the result of a ‘lack of commitment’ on the part of The Executive Office (TEO).

In a statement Ms. McLaughlin said: “It is superb news that there is now, at last, an identified use and occupant for every building on the Ebrington site. When full, the site will hopefully be vibrant and add to the leisure and hospitality infrastructure of our society. It should be a wonderful space, helping to make our city an even more attractive, enjoyable and relaxed place for people to live in and to visit.

“But even when celebrating the prospects for the future, we cannot ignore the errors and the failings of the past. It is absurd that to get to this point, it has taken 18 years since the site was gifted to the city by the British government’s Ministry of Defence. That slow progress is down to the lack of commitment to the site by TEO, and its forerunner the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.’’

A spokesperson for TEO said: “TEO Ministers are absolutely committed to the redevelopment of the Ebrington site and delivering the many benefits it will bring to the city and the wider area. To suggest otherwise is entirely wrong.

“Since the department took direct responsibility for the regeneration of the site in 2016, significant progress has been made. Sustainable businesses have been identified for each site building; construction of the new Grade A office accommodation building is well under way and is due to complete in March 2022; construction works on the proposed new hotel are scheduled to commence in the summer; and the business case for the Maritime Museum is being progressed.”

Ms. McLaughlin MLA said: “We also cannot overlook that some of the buildings on the site are still some way from being occupied. Building 10 is scheduled to be occupied next year. Several buildings are having repair and regeneration work beginning only now. It will be some time before that work is completed and all parts of Ebrington open for business.”

TEO said: “The Ebrington redevelopment is a crucial part of Ministers’ vision for regenerating the north west through a sustained programme of investment and renewal.

“All remaining development works will be progressed at the site as quickly as possible, which will continue to boost the regional economy and benefit all the people of the area.”