£700,000 project for Nailors’ Row

Paul McNaught, Department for Communities; Gerry Kelly, Chief Executive, Apex; and Kevin Butler, Apex, Director.
Paul McNaught, Department for Communities; Gerry Kelly, Chief Executive, Apex; and Kevin Butler, Apex, Director.

Work has been successfully completed on a £700,000 project aimed at upgrading the run-down Nailors’ Row in Londonderry.

After an eight-month construction period, the works followed collaborative working between the Department for Communities and Apex Housing Association to address a number of issues which effectively blighted this important area adjacent to the City Walls.

Nailors’ Row had remained in a run-down state for as long as people can remember and in more recent times it was essentially used as an unauthorised car park.

Being a private road, car parking was uncontrolled and frequently resulted in the access to Apex’s housing schemes for vulnerable residents at Alexander House and The House in the Wells, being blocked.

This posed serious risk-to-life concerns as emergency vehicles were unable to access the schemes at critical times.

To address the issue Apex acquired Nailors’ Row from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and applied to the Department for Communities for financial assistance to upgrade the street and create an attractive addition to the city’s public realm. 

The Department recognised Nailors’ Row as an integral part of the tourist trail following the foot of the City Walls from Bishop’s Gate to the Double Bastion with linkages to the Bogside murals and the Long Tower churchyard and provided over £600,000 to facilitate the delivery of the project.

The street has been sensitively upgraded with the former tarmac surface alongside the City Walls now replaced with natural stone paving befitting of its important location and the introduction of dedicated lighting for the first time.

The view from the City Walls has been further enhanced by a formal row of semi-mature trees alongside Alexander House which are highlighted by up-lighters with further informal tree planting to the grass embankment leading towards the Bogside.

Vehicular access to Nailors’ Row is now controlled via an automated barrier system which both improves safety and removes unauthorised parking adjacent to the Scheduled Monument. 

The existing Life Garden has been integrated into the overall scheme with improved access. Connectivity for the tourist has also been further enhanced by the introduction of a new set of steps from Nailors’ Row to Long Tower Court to provide linkage to the Long Tower Church from below the Double Bastion.

Apex would like to thank its consultants, GM Design, and contractor Patrick Bradley Ltd for their excellent work and attention to detail. 

Chairman of Apex, John Meehan, extended his thanks to the Department for Communities for their support during the project and added: “We are indebted to the Department for Communities for providing the funding to allow us to address the access difficulties for emergency vehicles while at the same time transform this somewhat neglected area into a pleasing space for all to enjoy.”

The Director of the North West Development Office, Damian Mulholland, welcomed the completion of the works and added: “The scheme on Nailors’ Row is part of the Department’s investment in the city and complements earlier funding provided to improve shop fronts and the Public Realm on Bishop Street Without. 

“The works will also help to encourage a more pedestrian focused environment whereby residents and visitors can gain a greater appreciation of the Derry Walls and views over the City.”