Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) has agreed to proceed to tender for the Brandywell Redevelopment Project.
The tendering process will include an Expression of Interest for Providers for the Greyhound Track at the new facility.
The decision was rubber stamped following a Special Council Meeting at the Guildhall on Friday, that was held to provide elected members and user groups with an opportunity to have an input into this phase of the project and to provide clarification on some finer points involved in the project prior to the scheduling of works.
Earlier this week, it had been anticipated that the development of Brandywell Stadium and its surroundings would be delayed after a local greyhound racing company had threatened Council with legal action.
Last month, Council ratified the decision made by members of the Health and Community Committee to proceed with the tendering process and to include the greyhound facility expression of interest.
Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Elisha McCallion welcoming the decision said she was pleased that Council was now able to proceed to the next phase of this significantly important capital investment project.
“The development of the Brandywell project is a key capital investment and development project for the Council and we are delighted that we are now in a position to procurement for contractors with a view to commencing works next year. The project represents an significant investment by Council and the OFDFM and is one part of the larger Brandywell/Daisyfield Masterplan that will regenerate and invest in this area of the city.
“This is a very good news story for the city and a clear indication of the Council’s ongoing commitment to the Brandywell area and to local sport provision services. A key element of this project has been the ongoing engagement with the public and user groups to ensure the investment will have real and lasting benefits for the entire community. The Council acknowledges the importance of the Brandywell as a Council asset and this investment will help us to maximise its usage and its potential in terms of sport and event provision for the future,” she said.
Planning permission for the project has already been granted and Council is hopeful that once the procurement process commences it will be in a position to appoint a contractor within five to six months. If all goes to plan, it is anticipated that the new stadium could be open during the 2017/18 season subject to a number of factors working in Council’s favour, including the appointment of contractors and ongoing consultation with the club and user groups.
Philip O’Doherty from Derry City Football Club said the club was delighted at the news.
“This is great news for the club and its loyal supporters. This investment is not just for the club but for the wider sports community and will be highly beneficial to the wider community. It will see the development of top quality sports facilities for all clubs and sports across the city and district. We have been lobbying for the ambitions of the club to be matched with the provision of a state-of-the-art stadium and facilities and are delighted that it has taken another step to fruition. We will continue to work closely with the Council on the next phase of the project moving forward,” he said.