Talks aimed at tripling £105m City Deal

John Kelpie.
John Kelpie.

Derry City & Strabane District Council’s chief executive has told Councillors that the £105m City Deal could potentially lead to a further £200m.

However John Kelpie cautioned that this was dependent on a range of factors including ongoing conversations with government officials north and south.

In an update delivered to local Councillors at the Guildhall on Tuesday, Mr Kelpie said the City Deal proposal was “an important component of the overall funding” for the Council-led Strategic Inclusive Growth Plan.

In terms of funding, it was outlined that in addition to the £105m UK Government funding Council and stakeholders would be working on the assumption that this full amount would be matched by NI Government however, they were advised that no absolute commitment could be provided in the absence of a regional government.

Mr Kelpie said discussions with third party stakeholders including the Irish Government were progressing positively. He added that if all the funding elements are in place it is hoped the overall investment injection would be in excess of £300m.

The core focus of the UK Government £50M City Deal funding has remained the delivery of the centres of innovation and excellence in data analytics (CARL) and robotics and automation (CIDRA) together with digital initiatives, with outline business cases being prepared.

The Future Fund of £55m and the anticipated match funding from NI Government and others, will be used to advance the Graduate Medical School and the further expansion of the Magee Campus along the riverfront, as well as the delivery of a Personalised Medicine Centre of Excellence (T-HRIVE) at Ulster University and Altnagelvin.

Other key projects include major regeneration investment along the riverfront and Queens Quay, the A2 Buncrana Road project and other connectivity initiatives including rail, City of Derry Airport, the A5 and A6.

Mr Kelpie said the next steps of the process was to work to advance the Heads of Terms with Government and seek approval on the key projects. He anticipated this to take six to eight months.