‘All options’ open for rail station despite Brexit

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Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard will be exploring “all options” to pay for a new transport hub in Londonderry, following the EU referendum.

Mr Hazzard said the Brexit vote “clearly” has the potential to “detrimentally impact” major infrastructure projects.

He mentioned the plans for a transport hub in particular and said would consider “all options” to make sure it goes ahead.

He had been asked by South Down MLA Howard McKee “for his assessment of the implications of the result of the EU Referendum for planned infrastructure projects, especially those involving EU or European Investment Bank financing; all other aspects of his departmental portfolio; and what relevant contingencies are in place.”

Mr Hazzard replied: “Clearly, the result of the EU referendum has the potential to detrimentally impact on the delivery of key infrastructure projects on the island. I am working closely with my Executive colleagues to establish and measure the full extent of this impact while exploring options and opportunities to effectively mitigate against it.

“The use of EU co-financing for major infrastructure projects has provided important additionalities but this has always formed a part of a broader financial mix involving departmental and NI block funding rather than providing a solitary source of finance.

“I remain focused on delivering our strategic infrastructure priorities, including those projects identified in the Fresh Start Agreement as well as the multimodal transport hub in Derry and I am prepared to consider all options available to me in doing so.”

This follows news that Translink is still in talks with the owner of the old Waterside railway station site about its potential refurbishment as a new transport hub for the North West using European Union funding.

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard says the old station could still be chosen as the site of a new hub and that he expects an economic appraisal to be in place by the end of the year.

Quizzed by rail campaigner and Foyle MLA Eamonn McCann, Mr Hazzard, said: “Translink is continuing to negotiate with the owners of the old site in relation to its purchase. In the meantime it has appointed Integrated Design Team Leaders to take forward a Feasibility Study, to look at two options: A new station on the current site; and Redevelopment of the old original Waterside Train Station.

“Translink has created initial conceptual designs but more work is needed on both options. It is hoped that an Economic Appraisal will be submitted to my Department towards the end of 2016.”

He said a detailed funding application would be made by August 22.