Derry City & Strabane - Plans for Harbour Square approved by planning committee




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Plans for Harbour Square approved by planning committee

28 March 2023

Plans for a new public realm artwork commissioned to celebrate the industrial heritage of the city took a step closer today, as Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Planning Committee granted full planning permission for the proposed works at Harbour Square.

The Committee approved the planned public realm works which will transform the area taking in Harbour Square, Custom House Street, Guildhall Street and Whittaker Street, and Foyle Embankment. The plans include the installation of a public artwork to formally depict the city’s industrial heritage with specific reference to the women who worked in the shirt factories.

Artist Chris Wilson was successfully appointed to undertake the production of a maquette of the sculpture, which is currently on public display in the Guildhall. A public engagement session for the public was held in July in the Guildhall to allow members of the public to view the design and meet with the artist.

The development is supported by the Department for Communities and Council, and Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor John Boyle, said he was delighted to see the plans officially approved. “There will be great excitement that we have reached this stage of the development and will hopefully see work on the ground in the very near future. Derry has a proud industrial heritage and one that deserves to be celebrated – not least the role of the Factory Girls who were the backbone of the local economy here for many years and supported households during the most difficult times.

“Their story deserves to be told, and this artwork will be the centrepiece of the public realm works that will transform this busy city centre area. I really look forward to seeing the work now begin and their legacy leaving a lasting mark on our city.”

The artwork consists of three bell shaped forms up to 3.5m in height with night time illumination, based on the shapes of spools of thread as used in the shirt factory sewing machines. The public realm works will involve the reconfiguration of the paved area with the creation of some new grass and planted sections including the public art installation, and will comprise soft landscaping, footways and carriageway.