The coordinator of the Friends of Derry’s Walls, Mark Lusby, has written to the Mayor, the Director of Planning and Regeneration and the Director of Culture and Tourism, voicing concern and dismay at the quality of the finish of the road surface at London Street.
Highlighting the mismatch of the surfacing he said it was paramount in an area of conservation and said the highest possible standards needed to be applied to the appearance of the Walled City.
“I expect the scheme in the attached picture is probably an initiative of the Department for Communities rather than Council and I expect that there is a very plausible reason as to why a different colour of paviour was chosen for the reinstatement of part of London Street after the recent gas main was laid,” he said.
“However, I believe that under your planning powers you are responsible for the protection of the Walled City as a Conservation Area and that you also have lead responsibility for the tourism development of the City and District.
“Therefore, I would like to bring to your attention the mismatch in public realm treatment which occurs part way along London Street, in the heart of the Walled City Conservation, directly in front of the City’s most historic and visited tourist attraction, St Columb’s Cathedral, right in the middle of the tourist season. Whatever the plausible reason, the result is the impression that we don’t really care about the Walled City as both a Conservation Area and as a Northern Ireland signature tourism destination.
“I couldn’t imagine such a public realm treatment being left in front of the Titanic Belfast Signature Building in the middle of a tourist season; certainly if my patio was redone like this, I’d be asking for my money back. I think we need to encourage the highest possible standards in the appearance of the Walled City as the premier tourist destination within the city and district.”