Waterside Station plan ‘a missed opportunity’

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More imagination on the vision for the Waterside Transport Hub was needed and the £27 million plan adopted by council is a wasted opportunity, claims SDLP Deputy Mayor John Boyle.

Mr. Boyle and his party colleague. Tina Gardiner. both voted against the plan, which was approved by Derry City and Strabane District Council by nine votes to two on Wednesday.

Mr. Boyle said he appreciated the significant financial investment involved and the work required to achieve it.

“But I feel this was still an opportunity lost,” he said.

“This should not have been allowed to come down to an ‘either or’ decision for the council’s Planning Committee to consider.

“In effect, Translink were telling local councillors that a successful transport hub could only be achieved if some of the architectural and historical integrity of the original Victorian terminal were sacrificed.

“I could see little or no real practical reason why both could not have been achieved if more imagination had been applied to overcoming the issues relating to allowing trains to enter the railway terminal and the location of the proposed car park.

“I was not content with the proposal to locate a car park between the riverfront and the new Transport Hub. To my mind, a car park in that location ignored the council’s Riverside Strategy which advises that it is preferable to avoid large areas of surface level parking on the riverfront.”

Lobby group, ‘Into The West’ was also disappointed by the decision.

A group spokesman said: “We can’t have a situation where we’re told a refurbished railway station amounts to ‘our lot’ in Derry.

“It’s therefore essential that Translink, the council, Stormont and our local politicians all ensure that further enhancements are planned for Derry’s railway system.

“The rail genie is firmly out of the bottle locally. Let’s all ensure we create a new golden age for rail in our city.”