The Department for Education has confirmed that plans for a £3.3million youth facility for Creggan are to be advanced.
The confirmation regarding the long-awaited project comes after Derry & Strabane’s Planning Committee approved proposals for two new community centres for Top of the Hill and Lincoln Courts.
Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell said the ‘exciting’ plans for Creggan will involve the demolition of St. Mary’s Youth Club, to be replaced by a state-of-the-art youth facility.
Speaking after meeting with staff and volunteers at St Mary’s Y.C., Colr. Campbell said this was “great news for the people of Creggan and the wider Derry public.”
Paying tribute to the dedication of all of those involved at the youth club, Colr. Campbell said: “When built, we will have a modern, state-of-the-art youth facility right in the heart of the community. “The nature of youth work has changed dramatically in the last twenty years so it’s vital that we have the facilities to meet those challenges.”
It anticipated that work on clearing the site will begin later this year, with services delivered at St. Mary’s decamping to other buildings in Creggan whilst the new building is constructed, he added.
A Department for Education spokesperson said the Business Case for St. Mary’s “approved the option of demolition of the existing Youth Centre and the construction of a new purpose build Youth Club on the existing site.
“The total cost approved for the scheme in the business case is £3.3m,” he said. “The scheme is currently in design. A further review of the scheme will take place following completion of the design and preparation of a pre-tender estimated cost.”
He added that it is estimated that the construction period will be around one year.
Meanwhile, Derry & Strabane’s Planning Committee has approved the council’s own plans for two new community centre. A 1,265 sq. m. two storey, newbuild community centre to include offices, child care facilities, youth facilities and a social hall is to be constructed at the former Immaculate Conception College site off Trench Road.
Management Board and Staff from Hillcrest Trust said they were “delighted” that planning approval has been granted. Edel O’Doherty, Chairperson, which has been working with numerous bodies to secure and develop facilities or the area, said: “The Top Of The Hill is a rapidly growing community and local residents will now benefit from the development of a custom designed facility, which will accommodate a wide range of social and community activities in response to the increased demand for services.”
And Lincoln Courts Community Centre is to be demolished and replaced by a newbuild, two storey 498m2 premises with a community hall, social space, computer suite, meeting rooms, reception, kitchen facilities and staff facilities. Welcoming the move, SDLP Councillor Tina Gardiner said facilities were “very poor at the minute.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Patricia Logue said: “This is certainly a good news day for the hard work that all Council officers and planners have been involved in, and community workers as well. These are much needed facilities.”