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Council announces further commitment to capital investment

02 September 2015

A number of key projects and programmes across the Derry City and Strabane District are set to benefit from a significant funding boost as announced at yesterday’s meeting of the Council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee, subject to ratification by Full Council.

The new investment will bring Council’s total capital investment programme to £64.416m, of which 50% has been secured from external sources. The recommendations were brought before the committee by the Capital Projects and Corporate Programme Planning Group which was established to monitor all capital projects as part of the new council governance arrangements.

Building on recent investment of over £44m in a range of projects including the Foyle Arena, the regeneration of Brooke Park, the ongoing development of the Waterside Greenway, Melvin Outdoor Play Area, Strabane Pedestrian Bridge and Sperrins Heritage Centre, the new Council - subject to confirmation of external funding - has allocated funding to enable the delivery of a further £20m of signature projects. These further commitments include the redevelopment of the Brandywell Stadium, the Melvin 3G pitch, and the delivery of a number of new community play parks across Derry and Strabane.

The news is particularly welcome following the considerable cuts to grants and funding streams announced by central government in recent months, which have the potential to seriously impact on regeneration and investment in the area.

Speaking after the announcement Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Kelpie, said that while the funding was significant in bringing these projects a step closer, there must now be a strong focus on securing the external funding needed to deliver fully on Council’s capital investment plans.
“I am delighted to confirm this investment which reaffirms Council’s commitment to the regeneration and development of the district. It’s particularly significant in the face of the budgetary cuts which have threatened to compromise the valuable work that has already gone into community projects, local service delivery and the economic revival of the region.

“Council’s key focus remains on economic, social and environmental regeneration with specific emphasis on an ambitious capital investment programme. Today’s announcement brings us a step closer to the realisation of many of these projects, and we remain committed to securing the additional resources needed to strengthen and transform Derry and Strabane. I would now urge central government to step up and deliver on their commitments to the region.”

Chairperson of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee, Councillor Karina Carlin said: “Today’s announcement is extremely welcome in the wake of such stringent funding cuts over recent months. As a district we face many challenges in terms of securing inward investment and the economic regeneration of the area, and we will continue to lobby central government to support the region, which we believe has been unfairly impacted by these deficits.

“The successful delivery of funding to support these key capital projects and programmes demonstrates our determination to meet our promises and drive the campaign to improve the prospects and quality of life of all our citizens.”

In recent months it’s estimated that the North West region has lost up to £6.2m in funding relating to the rates support grant, the transferring of functions, the disproportionate liability from a number of transferring assets, and the lack of capital funds to go along with DSD functions – all vital in allowing the Council to bring forward capital projects.

Members of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee agreed to the recommendations today after being presented with a full overview of the new council investment programme, as well as a breakdown of the capital projects set to benefit.

Mr Kelpie stressed to members of the committee that while significant amounts of capital investment have been achieved to date, Council will continue to exert pressure on central government to reduce budgetary cuts and commit further investment with a view to promoting sustainable growth within the region.