The long-awaited £6.25m regeneration plan for the almost five hectare Brandywell site has taken a major leap forward after securing planning permission this week.
Derry & Strabane Distrct Council’s Planning Committee unanimously backed a recommendation by Planning Officer, Malachy McCarron, that the entire project be given the go ahead during a meeting in the Guildhall on Wednesday evening.
The planning application related to the demolition of the existing terraces, stand and changing rooms at the Lone Moor Road venue, to be replaced by a new 2,400 seated stand with associated facilities.
The existing grass pitch will be replaced with a 3G surface, while boundary walls at Southend Park, Brandywell Road and Lone Moor Road will be replaced.
The dog track will be moved to the nearby Showgrounds with associated stand and facilities including new kennels, and the Showgrounds will get a newly realigned pitch.
Mr McCarron said that the site itself is approximately 4.95 hectares in size, encompassing the Brandywell Stadium and greyhound track, Showgrounds. Brandywell Sports Centre, the existing local Amenity Site and the surrounding parking areas.
He said that the new stand at the Lone Moor Road end will have seating and be covered. It will be 110m long and 20 m at its widest part, and 11 m at its highest. point, with the road 25 m away. The planning officer added that in their opinion, there would be no issue in terms of visual impact for people living nearby.
The Southend Park wall, which is shared with the rear gardens of local homes will be replaced, with no change in terms of scale and size.
After consultation with Transport NI, planners have concluded that “there will be no real material difference in terms of traffic to the site.”
“With the traffic management plan submitted by the main body using the facility, we feel that adequately deals with the traffic and parking issues on match days,” Mr. McCarron said.
The Lone Moor Road wall will be in part replaced by galvanised steel fencing.
Proposing that the Committee back planning approval, SDLP Councillor John Boyle said: “Obviously this is a very, very significant development for the city and I am sure we would all agree on that.”
A Derry & Strabane Council spokeswoman meanwhile confirmed yesterday:
“The total cost for Brandywell stadium development is currently estimated at circa £6.25m, with £4.47m being allocated by Council for the stadium development and the remainder of the funding being provided by OFMDFM.”