Talks still ongoing over Meenan Square site acquisition for £11m transformation

The Executive Office have confirmed that talks with the owner of the Meenan Square site remain ongoing.

Government officials said in early October 2022 that they hoped to conclude talks soon to pave the way for an £11m Urban villages project, and it has been now confirmed that the talks are ongoing.

Shop premises, offices and adjoining buildings on the site, including the well known pub The Bogside Inn, were demolished in summer 2021 to make way for the project.

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At the time it was said that builders were likely to move on to the site in early-to-mid 2022 and it was anticipated back then that work on the £11 million project would be completed by March/ April 2024. The impact the lack of a functioning Executive may be having on progress remains unclear.

Summer 2021- Building demolished to make way for a new £11m redevelopment project. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2127GS – 025

A spokesperson for The Executive Office said: “Meenan Square is a transformational project in Derry-Londonderry Urban Village area, which aims to improve good relations outcomes and develop a thriving place where there has been a history of deprivation and community tension. There are plans to create a focal point in the local community as a mixed-use re-development including social housing, community space and commercial units.

“The site remains in private sector ownership and discussions on the purchase of the site continue with the owners and delivery partners. We hope they will conclude soon allowing Urban Villages to move forward with transforming the site into a shared space for fostering positive community identities; building good relations; and harnessing wider economic and social benefits for the local community.”

Back in 2016, it was confirmed by late Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and then First Minister Arlene Foster that the revitalisation of the Meenan Square shops was included in a massive £45m investment across five ‘urban villages’ in the North.

Under previously announced plans, The Urban Villages Meenan Square development, located at the junction of Lecky Road and Westland Street, includes new social housing units and community and youth facilities - including a purpose built youth hub. Retail and social economy units and licensed premises will front Westland Street. Dove House - which provides a wide range of services to communities across the city - will relocate to the new site.

Demolition work at Meenan Square to make way for redevelopment. DER2130GS - 050
Derry’s iconic Bogside Inn in Meenan Square, being demolished back in 2021 to make way for a new £11m redevelopment project. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2127GS – 024