Massive regeneration plans for Top Of The Hill parkland

Some of the initial outline plans for the 40-acre Corrody Parkand 12-acre Immaculate Conception College sites in the Waterside.
Some of the initial outline plans for the 40-acre Corrody Parkand 12-acre Immaculate Conception College sites in the Waterside.

Plans for a massive parkland development with a new community centre, GAA, MUGA and football pitches have been unveiled for the Top Of The Hill area.

The new outline plans would see 40 acres off the Corrody Road area transformed as part of the huge development being spearheaded by Derry city Council.

The new facility may also include the current 12-acre Immaculate Conception College site, once the school closes in 2015.

Derry City Council’s Development Committee have now agreed to approve the overall Corrody Park/Top Of The Hill masterplan site layout.

This will allow it to progress to the next stage looking at planning permissions needed and the cost of the project.

Talks have already been taking place between officers from the council- which owns the bulk of the 52-acre site- and local community and other groups affected.

Speaking at Tuesday’s committee meeting at the Guildhall, a council official said that among the key requirements voiced by the community representatives were a new and enlarged community building, a GAA grass pitch, play parks and areas, improved parkland, new pitch provision- including a Multi-Use Games Area- and social housing.

He also confirmed talks had been taking place with the local clergy form Glendermott Parish over the Immaculate Conception College site.

This site will transfer to parish ownership once the school closes for good next year.

Councillors were told: “The response from Glendermott Parish is that they acknowledge the key role that the ICC site can play in the regeneration of the Top Of The Hill and would be supportive of the site being included in the wider masterplan.

“They have indicated a willingness to enter into more detailed discussions in relation to the potential transfer and representatives of the steering group now intend to follow this matter up directly.”

Outline planning permission will now be sought for the major parkland development after the steering group undertake what was termed at the meeting as a “comprehensive community consultation exercise”.

The steering group will also try to identify different funding streams, while the initial costs of preparing and submitting the planning application will be outlined at the September Development Committee meeting.

Backing the recommendations, Sinn Fein Councillor Eric McGinley said: “I know council has many priorities but I think this particular project needs to be as close to the top as possible.”

SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly meanwhile said the new development would have a massive positive impact for people living in Top of the Hill, and for the wider Waterside area.

“There will be extended consultation and I welcome that because it is important we get the right fit,” Mr Reilly added.

DUP Councillor Drew Thompson added a note of caution that the plans were still in the early stage and stressed that discussions were still ongoing over the Immaculate Conception site, but added:

“All in all, it is a very positive move for the Waterside.”

The council officer said they were being very careful not to raise expectations ahead of everything being in place, and said that there was a fall-back position to the 40-acre site should the Immaculate Conception proposals fall through.