Exciting plans for Bogside site

Exciting plans for a landmark location in Derry’s Bogside have been revealed.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 11:14 am
An aerial shot of the site in the Bogside to be developed.

The multi-million pound project at Meenan Square includes new houses, retail units, community and youth facilities and licensed premises.

Demolition work at the site - located at the junction of Lecky Road and Westland Street - is already underway and is expected to be completed in 4-6 weeks.

Builders are likely to move on to the site early-to-mid next year and it’s anticipated work on the £11 million project will be completed by March/April 2024.

The site at Meenan Square in the Bogside has been plagued by anti-social activity in recent years.

The project is being funded by The Executive Office - as part of its Urban Villages Programme - the Department of Communities and the Apex Housing Association which, as delivery partner, will oversee all construction on site.

Iona Enterprises, a local social economic development agency, is the Project Promoter.

It’s understood that, in all, eight new social housing units will be built as part of the regeneration scheme.

Subject to the planning process, it’s understood community and youth facilities - including a purpose built youth hub - will be located in the centre of the redeveloped site.

Demolition work begins on the derelict buildings at Meenan Square.

Retail and social economy units and licensed premises will front Westland Street.

As part of the plan, Dove House - which provides a wide range of services to communities across the city - will relocate to the new site.

Charles Lamberton, of the Triax Neighbourhood Partnership, one of the key movers in the plan, describes the project as a “catalyst for change”.

“This is a transformational project aimed at returning Meenan Square to the thriving community hub that it once was,” he says.

“It’s about offering a range of facilities that will benefit the local community and pump new life into Meenan Square.”

Mr Lamberton says local community input is key to the scheme and engagement with residents and other stakeholders will be a top priority.

“At the end of the day, this is about restoring pride and confidence in this particular part of the Bogside which has, let’s be honest, been an eyesore for far too long.”

This is a view shared by Donncha MacNiallais, of Dove House. He says the site has been a “blight” on the area for “far too long”.

“Not only has it held the local community back but it hasn’t reflected well on the city as a whole,” he added. “It’s located at a key entry point into the Bogside and the message it sends out is a negative one.

“However, with these new plans, we can change all that. As Charles says, transformation is the key word here. We want to restore this little bit of the Bogside to the bustling community hub that it once was.

“We want it to be a place where people can live, work and socialise.

“It has to work for the local commuity and we’re confident that, with these plans, it will.”

The project has been welcomed by local MLA Karen Mullan who hailed it as exciting news for the local community.

She added: “This investment will mean more public housing, new shops and more facilities which will benefit the local community and completely revive this area. The regeneration of this site has been long awaited and I commend the community organisations and others who are driving this transformation. I look forward to seeing it completed.”