Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced planning permission for the regeneration of the former MOD site at Ebrington in Londonderry.
This represents the first major announcement since the decision was made to close the regeneration company Ilex, due to take place before the new financial year on April 1.
The proposal sets out a blueprint for the 10.5 hectare site and provides for 83,000 square metres of gross floor space. This is for a range of uses including museum and heritage, creative industries, education, research and development, hotel and leisure, office, residential, cafes, restaurants and associated parking.
This is the largest single regeneration site in the City. The application was considered of regional significance so the decision rests with the Minister. It was turned around within 10 months of receipt
Mark H Durkan said: “This is good news for the City and wider region. This application sets out a blueprint that will be a boost for business, tourism and people in the area by revitalising the 1840s site with new homes, offices, cafes, restaurants and museum and arts facilities. It will also bring many construction jobs in the short term as well as long term job creation.
“Approval of this development framework provides certainty on the scale and type of development that will be acceptable. It will provide a masterplan for the physical regeneration and investment priorities for this pivotal site which is connected to the city centre by the iconic Peace Bridge. I look forward to further detailed proposals which will deliver on the vision of the framework.”
The Minister continued: “The proposal supports the aims and objectives of the One Plan and several key programme activities including the Ebrington Creative Hub to stimulate start-up businesses and the Ebrington Cultural Quarter of arts and cultural development.
“This proposal will help build a better environment and a stronger economy through sustainable development of previously developed urban land. It will enhance and develop a space close to the city centre and its built heritage, while developing the site in to an area that can be shared and enjoyed by everyone.”
First Minister Peter Robinson said: “This approval is a welcome development and will have a positive impact on the people of Londonderry. This is another positive step in regenerating the North West and is part of our wider plans to create the conditions to revitalise and rejuvenate the Ebrington site.”
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: The further development of the Ebrington site will transform not just the landscape of the City but also the economic prospects of the North West. We must make every effort to create jobs for people and developing the site at Ebrington enables us to provide a compelling proposition to potential investors.”