Derry City and Strabane District Council says while it is aware the closure of Brandywell Stadium will cause a “level of inconvenience”to local sport, it has a responsibility to minimise the impact construction work will have on local residents.
The laying of a new 3G football pitch will commence in August 2016 and is expected to be completed by December 2016. Should this timetable proceed as planned, then Derry City F.C. would have to find an alternative venue for home games from August 2016 until the end of the season.
It is also unclear where the greyhound racing fraternity will stage race meetings until a new greyhound racing facility is built.
A Council spokesperson told the ‘Journal’ it was “hopeful” that the procurement process for the re-development of Brandywell Stadium would proceed in the next few weeks. The spokesperson also said they were confident that work would commence within the next six months.
“Council are keenly aware that, whilst there is a level of inconvenience to the two main sporting interests within the stadium, they must equally be conscious of minimising the impact on residents by keeping the contract duration to as short a period of time as possible and felt the proposed approach was the best compromise of these competing interests,” said the spokesperson.
“Based on the draft programme and subject to a number of factors working in Council’s favour, including the appointment of contractors and ongoing consultation with all stakeholders, Council hopes to advance with the procurement of the project in the coming weeks and is hopeful that it will be in a position to start work on site within six months.”
The Council spokesperson told the ‘Journal’ that the proposed timetable for the re-development of the Brandywell Stadium and the Showgrounds had been presented at a special stakeholder meeting last week.
“Following Council approval for the project to proceed to tender at the special council meeting held in December 2015, it was agreed a stakeholder group should be formed to meet to discuss how the works can best proceed with due consideration to minimising the impact of the works on all stakeholders,” the spokesperson added.
“A draft programme based on the works proceeding on the basis of the contractor being given a vacant site to undertake the works, as instructed by elected members at December’s Council meeting, was presented at the first of these stakeholder meetings last week, as agreement on this influences the basis on which tenders would be sought,” concluded the Council spokesperson.