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Innovative streetscape changes proposed to aid Covid Recovery in Derry and Strabane town centres

10 December 2020
Proposals for public realm and environmental improvements to the town centres of Derry City and Strabane as part of the wider recovery from Covid 19 have been presented to Derry City and Strabane District Council's Environment and Regeneration Committee.
The Covid Recovery and Revitalisation Street Life and Vibrant Places document outlined a number of suggested physical recovery measures to create greater ease of movement for pedestrians and facilitate greater social distancing to allow hospitality and other businesses to trade onto the street.
Proposals include additional street furniture in Derry City and Strabane town centres and temporary traffic restrictions to create a more welcoming environment for pedestrians at Ferryquay Street, the Diamond and Bishop Street in Derry and Castle Street in Strabane.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney welcomed the report which was commissioned to urban designers at OGU/MMAS.
"Council has been engaging with a range of partners for some time to bring forward plans exploring options aimed at redesigning urban spaces and thoroughfares in our towns and city centres," he explained.
"The plans are being brought forward as part of the wider Covid-19 Recovery strategy with the priority being to assist businesses by creating more attractive space, additional outdoor seating areas, better public realm design, enhanced city dressing and other improvements that will help restore customer confidence and drive footfall in these areas.
"Council will continue to lobby on behalf of the local business community over the coming months to rebuild city centre trade and restore confidence in investing in the local high street which will be a key element of our economic recovery plans for next year."
Members were told that funding secured from central government will assist in the installation of street furniture including seating, planting and lighting and the enhancement of existing public spaces such as Waterloo Place, Ebrington and Queens Quay.
Chair of Councils' Environment and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Maurice Devenney explained that the plans were part of a wider initiative by Council to review urban spaces in the centre of Derry and Strabane.
"The suggested scheme, particularly the draft one proposed for the Walled City, pick up on key elements arising from the International Heritage Regeneration conference held in the City back in 2018," he explained.
"In light of the current Covid situation, we commissioned urban designers to consider these opportunities in further detail and to actually illustrate these in terms of what could be possible with the collective buy-in of our respective stakeholders. 
"Our urban designers have presented some initial high level designs in terms of how particular streetscapes can be transformed and there has been initial liaison with stakeholders during the preparation of the document and who are supportive of the measures which will create a more attractive and usable city centre for pedestrians and local businesses."
The full draft report can be viewed on Council's website at derrystrabane.com.