Bow to local will and back old station: MLA

The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65
The former Waterside Railway Station. 2001JM65

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has called for clarity on plans for the old Waterside train station following what he has described as “mixed messages” from the Department of Regional Development (DRD) on proposals to redevelop the building.

Last year the DRD Minister Danny Kennedy announced a new project to develop plans for an integrated transport hub at the old station.

But Mr Kennedy has now referred to the redevelopment of the building as no more than a ‘project option’ included in a tender document for a new fit-for-purpose station in Londonderry.

Mr Eastwood said: “It appears from the minister’s latest statement that concerns for the future of the historic old Waterside station may be well founded.

“Several months ago we were told that plans were underway to restore the station to provide a fit-for-purpose public transport hub.

“Now the Minister is indicating that the redevelopment of the station may be in doubt as apparently it is only one of a number of project options.

“The mixed messages from the DRD minister are cause for concern among those who have lobbied hard for this great asset to be saved for future generations.”

The SDLP MLA went on to state that the iconic old station should be the central point of any proposed new transport hub for the city.

Mr Eastwood added: “The old Waterside station is an important part of Derry’s built heritage and it is vital that it is central in the creation of a new public transport hub in the city.

“That’s what more than two thirds of those who took part in a public consultation exercise stated and that’s what the SDLP has called for,” he said.

The Londonderry MLA also went on to say that the wishes of the people of Londonderry should be respected.

“I would ask the Minister to bow to the will of local people and not only give a clear commitment to redevelop this historic building but also secure the funding for the project,” said Mr Eastwood.