Council announces range of major projects for coming year

Visitor numbers have more than doubled at Brooke Park.
Visitor numbers have more than doubled at Brooke Park.

The refurbishment of Brandywell Stadium; five new play parks and drawing up a concept for a new sports complex in Derry, have been cited as among the main priorities for the the local council over the next year.

Detailed design plans for new community centres in Galliagh, Shantallow and Top of the Hill will be drawn up over the coming months, while a new heritage strategy for Derry & Strabane will commence.

The reconstruction of Brandywell stadium and dog track is due to be completed in the coming year. (Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile)

The reconstruction of Brandywell stadium and dog track is due to be completed in the coming year. (Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile)

The projects were among many outlined in a new Annual Service Plan presented to the Environment & Regeneration Committee at its meeting in Strabane on Wednesday.

Recycling facilities will be progressed for the Waterside area, while the council will also aim to deliver 46 kms of cross border greenway provision into Donegal.

There are further plans to apply for planning permission for greenways at Kilfennan and Clooney, while undertaking Phase 4 of the Waterside Greenways project and completing masterplans for Culmore and lands at Clooney. Targets have been set to open new play parks in Brandywell, Ballyarnett, Kilfennan and Ballymagroarty in March 2018, while a fifth park is being built at Strathfoyle.

The refurbishment of the existing Templemore Sports Complex is to go ahead over the coming months.

Presenting the Annual Service Plan, the council’s Director of Environment & Regeneration, Karen Phillips, said the past year had seen the council achieve “many high level achievements.”

Visitor numbers to Brooke Park, she said, had more than doubled compared to the number of people using the park prior to the £5.6m regeneration project.

Three new play areas have been opened during the 2016/17 year and the commencement of the Brandywell Stadium refurbishment was also started plus the transformation of a former landfill site into the new Culmore Country Park, which was opened to the public with a 5km path network.

Over the same period, Derry City and Strabane Council issued more than 1,340 planning decisions, with over 92 per cent of which were approved, including permission for 2,800 new homes.

The council also won numerous regional and national awards including Ulster in Bloom, Pride in Our City and best Kept Grounds Maintenance and Street Cleaning Services.

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney praised the Council team and said the projects completed were to be welcomed.

“When you look at play parks, Brooke Park, the Brandywell, all really big concerns for our constituents, it is vital we have a good, effective team to take on those concerns and get these projects off the ground.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan, meanwhile, said: “At the end of the day, the public out there needs to know about all of this.

“People do criticise the council - ‘they do nothing’, ‘they don’t do this, they don’t do that’ so I think this type of thing needs to be publicised.

“We need to let people know we are not just emptying bins,” he added.