Project will ‘transform whole area’

Elisha McCallion.
Elisha McCallion.

The chairwoman of Derry’s Development Committee said that the decision to plug the £2.15m funding gap for the Brandywell project will help “transform the entire area.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion, who presided over the committee meeting where the funding was agreed last Friday, said the move was “great news for Derry”.

She added: “The loan charge element of the funding proposals were similar to that proposed by Sinn Féin but rejected a number of years ago.”

Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson meanwhile said that the funding decision was a big deal for the city.

She said: “Derry has a proud sporting history and the football fraternity here in the city have long been campaigning for the improvement of facilities at the Brandywell.

“In addition, the Foyle Valley Gateway is a catalyst project identified in the One Plan and a key area for development to continue the regeneration of the city.

“I am delighted that plans to invest around £9m in the regeneration of the Foyle Valley area including the Brandywell Stadium, Daisyfield and the Showgrounds have passed the first phase of approval.

“The matter will now be considered at a meeting of full council and the shadow committee where I hope it will meet with final approval.”

It is now anticipated that work on the first phase of the project- which is expected to pass through the supercouncil committee stage later this month without a hitch - could begin as early as March 2015.