Civic leaders present proposal bid for ‘City Deal’ in London Guildhall

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A delegation from Derry City and Strabane District Council travelled to London on Wednesday to launch the ‘Derry-Londonderry Vision and Outline Bid Proposal Document’, in London’s Guildhall.

The proposal is the next step in progressing plans for a ‘City Deal’ for the region.

The delegation met with senior government officials from the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to discuss the need to enter formal negotiations around the bid following the invitation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, in July.

Chief Executive John Kelpie and officers briefed officials on the draft list of projects which will shape the framework of the City Deal bid and progress on the business cases for the projects.

The Vision and Outline Bid Proposal provided more detail on the investment priorities for the City Region, focusing on three key areas, namely investing in Innovation and Digital, Enabling Infrastructure and Regeneration and growing the Private Sector.

The delegation took the opportunity to outline the strategic projects which would promote growth in these particular areas, including the expansion of Ulster University’s Magee Campus, the upgrade of crucial transport links to the region, and a range of objectives already laid out in the Strategic Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor John Boyle, said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to join with the City of London Corporation in hosting this event.

“Our strengthening ties with the city are evident here, and we want to get across that message that the NW City Region is open for business with an exceptional offering of skills and talent that is second to none.

“I look forward to seeing our relationship progress and to the advancement of our City Deal bid proposal, which will be pivotal to delivering our long-term goals.”

Council Chef Executive John Kelpie gave an overview of recent investments in the city, which he said were already paying clear dividends.

“In recent months we have seen substantial increases in employment in ICT, Financial and related professional services.

“We now need that commitment from government that a City Deal is top of the agenda in order to continue this momentum, and unlock the critical funding needed to deliver the City Region’s key catalyst projects.

“I was delighted at the positive feedback regarding our Vision and Outline Bid Proposal at the meeting and look forward now to progressing to the next stage in the process of securing a City Deal.”

JOINT CELEBRATIONS

Later in the evening over 200 leading figures from business, education and the political arena from both Derry and London gathered at the London Guildhall’s historic Crypt to mark the recent invitation by the UK Government to bid for a City Deal, and to celebrate key investments in the Derry and Strabane area