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Governance Committee updated on funding applications that could advance significant capital projects

04 May 2021

Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council's Governance and Strategic Planning Committee today approved a number of significant funding applications into the recently announced UK Government Strategic Funding packages. 

The report presented at this week's meeting identified a number of capital, skills and business support projects for which applications would now be progressed into the initial phase of the UK Community Renewal and Levelling Up funding programmes.

Presenting to members, Council's Funding Manager Richard Ostherus, highlighted some of the projects that could benefit subject to successful bids into a very competitive funding programme across the UK with an 18th June application deadline.

"Successful applications would seek to build on the successful City Deal and Inclusive Future Fund Investment announced earlier this year to advance significant capital projects in the City and District," he said.

"Significant applications would now be progressed for a range of ambitious projects including Brandywell Sports Centre, St Columb's Park Green Infrastructure Master Plan as well as multi-sport pitches and ancillary facilities development in the Strabane rural area.

"Officers are engaging with government and all relevant regional stakeholders in relation to the more significant UK Shared Prosperity Fund as well as Round Two of the Levelling Up Fund which will provide further opportunities for significant funds and investment to deliver upon the Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan and the Local Growth Plans."

The Rural Strabane Pitches project is a multi-sport pitch development with associated ancillary facilities that aims to address a pitches deficit in the rural Strabane hinterland across the sports of soccer, GAA and Rugby. The estimated project value is in the region of £4-5m and the pitches/facilities deficit has been identified through Council's Pitches and Facilities Strategy.

The Brandywell Sports Centre project includes an upgrade of the existing grass pitch to provide floodlighting, fencing and changing facilities at the site. It follows the demolition of the old Brandywell Sports Centre as part of the Brandywell Development and is part of the wider Foyle Valley Gateway Regeneration Plan. The project is aligned to the Cultural and Heritage Investment and the Regeneration and Town Centre Investment priorities of the fund and has an estimated cost is £4.3m.

The regeneration of St Columb's Park is listed in Council's Green Infrastructure project as a significant capital build. The project will see the regeneration of the former Ministry of Defence site off St Columb's Park into an urban growing space (Acorn Farm) within the city, a new gate lodge, enhanced car parking, wider environmental improvements to include play provision, enhanced biodiversity signage and landscaping. The estimated cost is in the region of £5-7m.

Alongside these capital funding applications, Council will be submitting further funding applications to the UK Community Renewal Fund in relation to skills and supporting people into development and business support.  The UK Community Renewal fund is a precursor to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which as viewed as one of the key EU successor funds following the UK's departure from the European Union.

The fund will be administered directly by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government and the budget allocation for Northern Ireland will be £11 million.

Council is also awaiting details of Phase 2 of the UK Strategic Funds including the Shared Prosperity Fund which are expected to be announced later in the year and will enable Council to submit further significant funding bids for other projects within the wider Council Strategic Growth Plan.