Derry City and Strabane District Council says it is continuing to work closely with Donegal County Council to bring forward the Riverine project, a significant cross border regeneration project for the Lifford and Strabane area.
It follows reports that a footbridge over the Foyle linking the two towns may be delayed because Donegal County Council, which is leading the project, has so far been unable to secure a foreshore licence for the project.
A Derry City and Strabane District Council spokesperson told Highland Radio News this morning that both Councils are committed to seeing the project delivered in its entirety as soon as possible, but there have been some unforeseeable project challenges in obtaining some statutory approvals.
The spokesperson said these challenges include planning permission, due to operational issues within An Bord Plenala and a delay in obtaining a Foreshore Licence from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in Dublin.
The spokesperson stressed both councils are working with the projects EU funders and support government departments to discuss these issues and agree an appropriate way forward.
Donegal County Council says plans for the Lifford and Strabane parks have been submitted, but the foot and cycle bridge linking the two will be delayed as it will take 18 months to secure a foreshore license and that is not within the PEACE 4 funding window.
As the bridge cannot be delivered on time, the council says it has been held over to a future phase of the project, and discussions are ongoing in a bid to identify alternative funding sources.
DCC statement in full –
Riverine Community Park – Press Update 19 th December 2022
Donegal County Council as lead partner are working closely with Derry City & Strabane
District Council (DCSDC) as project partner to deliver the Riverine Community Park Project
together with the funding partners the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Funding for
this project is provided under the PEACE IV programme. This funding programme is to
conclude on 31 st December 2023.
The delivery of the project has been divided into three parts:
1. Lifford Park – Construction tenders have been received from four interested
companies and these currently being assessed. Commencement of this element
depends on receipt of planning consent from An Bord Pleanála. The Planning
application was lodged with An Bord Pleanála on 30th September 2021 and a
decision is awaited.
2. Strabane Park – A planning application has been lodged with DCSDC and a decision is
expected in February 2023. Contractors will be procured early in 2023 to construct
3. The Bridge – A foreshore license is required from the Dept. of Housing, Local
Government and Heritage in Ireland and a Marine License in required in Northern
Ireland to build the pedestrian and cycle bridge to connect the Lifford Park and the
Strabane Park. The timelines required to secure a foreshore license is eighteen
months and consequently will not be in place in time to construct this element of the
overall project within the PEACE IV funding window.
As the bridge cannot be delivered within the PEACE IV funding window, it has been held
over to a future phase of the project. Discussions are ongoing to identify alternative funding
sources for the bridge, including potentially through the upcoming PEACE PLUS programme.
It is important to acknowledge that a bridge to connect the parks from both sides of the
border remains fundamental to the objectives of the overall Riverine project. Both Councils
are committed to seeing the project delivered in its entirety as soon as possible.
There are further challenges remaining to the delivery of the Lifford Park and Strabane Park
elements of the Riverine Community Park within the PEACE IV funding window. There has
been unforeseeable project challenges in obtaining statutory approvals including planning
permission for the Lifford Park, due to operational issues within An Bord Plenala.
Donegal County Council together, with Derry City and Strabane District Council, is working
with the main project funder SEUPB and supporting government departments to discuss
these issues and agree an appropriate way forward.