The chairman of the Foyle Civic Trust, Paul McGarvey, says that the continuing development of Ebrington Square will have a beneficial effect on the surrounding area.
Mr McGarvey, who is an architect based on Ebrington terrace on the Limavady Road, made his remarks in response to a concern by fellow Waterside businessman Robert Ferris who in Friday’s ‘Journal’ expressed concern that increased traffic generated by new businesses on the square was having a detrimental effect in the area.
“As a local architect, I take a very keen interest in the heritage and development of the city – my office is situated across the road from Ebrington Square so I haves seen it being transformed from the former Army barracks into a major public thoroughfare, on a daily basis,” he said.
“In my opinion, the award-winning Peace Bridge has been one of the most successful pieces of infrastructure for the city, in many years and it was right to construct this first (and the landscaped square) to create the necessary linkages to encourage businesses to set up.
“The economic climate over the last 10 years has severely hindered this process but despite this, there are already many satellite businesses located behind the square and with the projected distillery, maritime museum and hotel soon to be in place we could end up with a vibrant cultural quarter albeit on a smaller scale to the enormously successful historic Albert Dock in Liverpool.
“Free parking provision is already in place (off the King Street roundabout ) for those using the square so there should be little impact on existing on-street parking availability within the adjacent Waterside roads.
“Although there is, however, a problem within the Browning Drive area where people choose to park here in numbers to cross the Peace Bridge and the opening of the new schools on the Limavady Road will undoubtedly introduce new problems.
“After a slow start, progress at Ebrington Square is on the increase, and we look forward to the sympathetic restoration of the many listed buildings within the square with good quality architectural additions.
“This is already becoming a major public open space and tourist attraction - hopefully, it will act as a catalyst for investment within the surrounding areas.”
Mr Ferris, a local estate agent, said that developments such as the planned new £14 million hotel for Ebrington needed to be developed in line with improvements to infrastructure in the Waterside.
He also called for the fencing to Ebrington on the Limavady Road to be removed.