Way forward on Fort George within weeks

Remedial works at Fort George site in Derry are to wrap up over the coming days. (File pic) 0402JM83
Remedial works at Fort George site in Derry are to wrap up over the coming days. (File pic) 0402JM83

The Department for Communities has said it expects to agree a way forward on the development of Fort George within weeks.

Remedial works at the former army base are also expected to be completed within days.

There have been 11 expressions of interest from potential buyers hoping to develop the site following an exercise initiated last year.

It was announced in mid-September, 2018, that formal expressions of interest were being sought from developers to assess private sector interest in investing in the 15-acre former military base, with a deadline set for November 9.

Fort George was vacated by the Ministry of Defence in 2001 and acquired four years later by the then named the Department for Social Development. It has since transferred to the Department for Communities (DfC).

The entire site received outline planning permission in 2015, with proposals for housing, office, employment and education uses along with retail, cafes, bars, restaurants and associated parking.

Remediation works at the former naval base were initiated some years ago to deal with contaminants and Japanese knotweed. The final round of these works, costing £1.2m and begun in May 2018.

A DfC spokesperson confirmed to the ‘Journal’: “The contractor, Deane Public Works, has completed the majority of the stone capping works on site and is currently finishing the final stages of the works and starting to demobilise from site. All site works are due for completion by the end of January 2019.”

The Department confirmed it is still considering the 11 expressions of interest received, the content of which they have said remain ‘Commercial in Confidence.’

The interested parties must prove that their plans will benefit “the city and the wider North West.”

The spokesperson said: “The Department is still considering the responses to the Expression of Interest exercise and expects to agree a way forward in the coming weeks.”