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New Mayor impressed by progress on Strategic Growth Plan

14 June 2024

The newly appointed Mayor of Derry, Councillor Lilian Barr, received a warm welcome from members of the Strategic Growth Partnership for Derry and Strabane, as she co-chaired her first meeting of the body.

The quarterly meeting took place today for the first time at the Western Health and Social Care Trust headquarters at Altnagelvin, where the Mayor and partnership members were welcomed by Neil Guckian, CEO, WHSCT. The Strategic Growth Partnership oversees the delivery of the Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane, and is made up of a range of partners from the community, statutory and voluntary sectors, including the Trust.

Today’s agenda included an update on the expansion of Ulster University, and members heard from Professor Paul Seawright and Professor Malachy O’Neill on progress to date.

Ambitions to improve connectivity to the North West region were also discussed, as Director of City of Derry Airport, Steve Fraser, talked about plans for the development and sustainability of the airport.

Speaking after the meeting, Mayor Barr said she was delighted to work with the partnership over the coming months. “The Strategic Growth Partnership has a vital role in ensuring the successful delivery of the Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane. It’s the blueprint for all growth and development across all community areas, so it’s important that it reflects a diverse range of voices from all sectors.

“Today I had the opportunity to hear more about some of our most important strategic priorities in terms of education and connectivity, as well as the local economy, and I am encouraged by the commitment and dedication of our partners to progressing these goals for the North West.”

At the meeting Members also heard more about the Long-Term Plan for Towns from Council Chief Executive John Kelpie, who asked the partnership to endorse the steps to define the governance arrangements for the Long-Term Plan for Towns Board. The local economy also came under the spotlight with the Economic Outlook, Winter 2024 report presented by Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre, with a breakdown of both regional and local economic performance.

You can find the papers for today’s meeting and information about the Strategic Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane at

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