Preferred option for Brandywell site selected

Work on the redevelopment of Brandywell Stadium could face further delays.
Work on the redevelopment of Brandywell Stadium could face further delays.

A Derry & Strabane Council Committee has chosen one of seven options for the redevelopment of the Brandywell Stadium tthis evening.

Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the DUP all agreed to press ahead with Option Three of seven, despite misgivings voiced by Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly.

The Council’s Health and Community Committee was last night presented with the list of options at their monthly meeting in the Guildhall.

Option Three involves proceeding to tender for the entire Brandywell scheme.

As part of this a public advertisement will be put out for providers to run the Greyhound Track.

The report states: “In theory Greyhound racing can take place seven days per week as it will not impact on the running of the football stadium (as it is now within the Showground’s site). Any Greyhound operator will pay a proposed £55 per hour for the hire of the facility. These costs will help cover staff costs, electricity costs, maintenance costs and other operating costs associated with managing the facility.”

Proposing the committee proceed in this way, Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell said that by this stage there has been numerous consultations as far as six and a half years ago. “There are seven options here for discussion and I would like to make a proposal to accept option three as it accommodates everyone,” he added.

Colr Donnelly however said he had attended a “robust and very frank” meeting recently involving various stakeholders, and that there had been “no consensus”.

“I can’t see how you can say option three suits all groups,” he said. “I don’t think any option suits all groups. I think there will be a loser here with any option we go with. Down the line, any option we go with will leave somebody out.”

He also predicted there would be attempts to block this in the future.

SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly seconded Colr. Campbell’s proposal, saying: “Our party as hard from a range of individuals and we are also of an opinion that we want to ensure this project goes forward in a way that includes as many people as possible and gives the best deliver.”

DUP Councillor Hilary McCintock agreed that Option Three “offers the best opportunity to satisfy as many people as possible.”

The vote was carried with 10 Committee members in favour and one abstention from Colr. Donnelly.