Mayor hails Brandywell Regeneration Project Council investment
26 February 2018
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Maolíosa McHugh says the £7m Brandywell Regeneration Project marks a significant investment and commitment by Council to improve sports provision and the health and well-being of the City and District.
The Mayor, speaking ahead of Derry City FC’s first home fixture against Dundalk at the weekend, said he was delighted to see phase one of the regeneration works completed and ownership of the Stadium handed back to Council from the contractor.
Praising everyone involved in the project for their commitment and work, the Mayor said the Brandywell Regeneration Project representing a hugely significant investment by Derry City and Strabane District Council.
“This project is one of the Council’s most significant and ambitious capital development projects and represents a staggering investment of £7m from the Council and the Social Investment Fund under the NI Executive’s Delivering Social Change framework, and forms part of the larger Brandywell/Daisyfield Masterplan to regenerate and invest in this region of the Council area.
“It is a fantastic facility for multi-use sports and activities for the entire local community and I am very impressed with the work carried out and with the way the contractors and staff have pulled out all the stops over the past few months to get the project completed. As with any project of this scale, we did experience some issues and delays as a result of poor weather conditions, but we are delighted to have the facility up and running this week to host a range of events including soccer training session and greyhound dog trials.”
Acknowledging the role of stakeholders and user groups, the Mayor said it was important to thank the local sports clubs including Derry City FC, the Greyhound operators, Derry District League and the Saturday Morning League for their patience and co-operation throughout this process.
He also extended his thanks to the local community sector for their support and praised the ongoing support and patience of the residents in the Brandywell who had to deal with some inconvenience while the works were being carried out.
Among the works carried out as part of the Brandywell Regeneration Project is a new 955 seater stand incorporating new changing rooms, media facilities, meeting spaces, safety control centre, along with standing accommodation for 270 spectators that will bring the existing capacity of the ground to approximately 3,700. As well as the new stand, the project consists of a new synthetic turf pitch, a standalone dog track, the refurbishment of the south-end stand and additional car parking as well as substantial improvement works across the Stadium, including the replacement of the boundary walls to the wider Brandywell site.
To celebrate the opening of the Brandywell a series of sports development programmes and low level fixtures are expected to commence in early March to showcase the new facilities and multi-sport usage as well as allow local clubs, youth organisations and schools to try out the surface.
Welcoming the completion of the project, Council Chief Executive John Kelpie said Council was committed to further investment in regeneration and sport across the City and District and that the Brandywell is just one of a number of significant investment projects Council is involved in including the development of a new Strategic Leisure plan for Templemore and Strabane.
“The Brandywell Regeneration Project is a hugely significant project for the Council and a key element of our Strategic Growth Plan to regenerate and invest in sport, health and well-being. Council fully acknowledges the importance of the Brandywell as a Council asset and this investment is further evidence of the Council’s commitment to investing in the city and district and enhancing our sports, health and well-being facilities,” he concluded.
Dr. Mark Browne, Deputy Secretary, Executive Office said: “The completion of the Brandywell project is a great example of central and local government working together with communities to deliver real benefits for local people.
“The investment in the Brandywell site is part of a wider £5.6m Social Investment Fund project involving three playing pitch developments targeting deprived areas of Derry/Londonderry.
“I wish Derry City Football Club and the local community every success both on and off the pitch.”
A spokesperson for Derry City FC said: “The Management, players and supporters of Derry City Football Club are delighted to be returning to our spiritual home this coming Friday evening when we will entertain Dundalk FC. It has been a long journey from initial planning stages until now and the club would like to acknowledge the strong partnership that has been forged between Council and itself during that time. We wholeheartedly appreciate the support of Derry/Strabane Council and are now looking forward to beginning this new chapter in our history.”
Daniel McLaughlin from the Greyhound company who operates at the new Dog track said: “There was an air of excitement when the track open its doors for the first time to the racing public, it was their first time to put the new track under scrutiny. The feedback was above all expectation, with owners breeders and trainers alike giving their seal of approval on the greyhound facilities. We, the McLaughlin family, would like to take this opportunity to thank Derry City & Strabane District council for helping bring greyhound racing within the city into the 21st century & securing the sports future for many more generations to come.”
Charles Lamberton from Triax said: “The opening of the Brandywell Stadium, Greyhound Track and Playpark is welcomed by young and old alike not only from the Brandywell neighbourhood but the whole of the city and beyond. Triax are working alongside stakeholders and residents to develop a series of events and programmes that will celebrate the re-opening whilst also recognising the history and heritage of this long-established community and sporting facility. At this time it is fitting that we acknowledge the commitment and work of the late Martin McGuinness who was one of the major factors in the delivery of this project.