Derry City and Strabane District Council unanimously endorse £180m proposals for city revamp

Derry City and Strabane District Council unanimously endorsed a suite of proposals of more than £180m to revitalise Derry’s Central Riverfront Strand Road and Walled City area.

The plans included the new Ulster University Innovation Centres of Excellence and School of Medicine, the creation of new public spaces and through the reorientation and reallocation of road space and the redesign of traffic circulation and proposals to remodel the Harbour Square, Whittaker Street and Victoria Market area.

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Today, Derry City and Strabane District Council unanimously endorsed a suite of proposals of more than £180m to revitalise Derry’s Central Riverfront/Strand Road and Walled City area. The details were provided to Elected Members attending a Special Full Council meeting at the Guildhall, that was held to provide updates in relation to the Derry~Londonderry Strabane City Deal Inclusive Fund Outline Business Case.

A detailed progress report outlined details of exciting proposals to create a vibrant and thriving Central Riverfront, Walled City and Strand Road areas of the city. The plans showcased how the new Ulster University Innovation Centres of Excellence, School of Medicine and potential future university expansion will be integrated onto the Riverfront by creating a new University Square public realm.

The presentation outlined plans to create new, high quality public spaces and places through the reorientation and reallocation of road space and the redesign of traffic circulation and vehicle movements. The proposals for this traffic reconfiguration split the traffic between Strand Road and Queens Quay comprising a two-lane, one-way system on each, with traffic flowing northbound (coming from the city centre) onto lower Strand Road and southbound (towards the city centre) along Queen’s Quay, with potential for bus priority on the inner lanes during peak times.

The plans also include proposals to remodel the Harbour Square/Whittaker Street/Victoria Market area and roundabout at the Council Offices to provide enhanced multi-use public spaces which will encourage additional private sector investment greater accessibility and usage of this area.

Exciting and innovative plans within the Walled City were also outlined at the meeting with proposals including the remodelling and integration of the existing Story of Derry underground space at the Tower Museum into Union Hall Place/ Guildhall Square and directly into the Craft Village, in partnership with the Inner City Trust.

A major lighting scheme within the Walled City and on the Riverfront is a key element of the proposals, alongside improved signage and public realm in and around the Diamond, Shipquay Street and Castle Street.

It was outlined that the total investment in the City Deal proposals is more than £300m, with the additional funding from project partners.

Members were informed that a significant milestone has been achieved in relation to the DNA Museum at Ebrington with all funding now in place and the project ready to advance to tender stage, allowing works to start by late 2024, the first City Deal project to advance to this stage across Northern Ireland.

This special meeting of Council is one of several City Deal focused Special Council meetings held over the past few months where comprehensive updates on the suite of projects included in the proposed City Deal projects have been endorsed, including the Strabane Regeneration Pillar; the proposed City Deal Innovation Digital and Health Pillar and the SMART Digital and CADRIC projects. A Special Meeting is planned to outline the School of Medicine and personalised medicine centre in the coming weeks.

Members heard how project OBCs began to be submitted to Government for consideration from mid-Autumn last year with a target announcement for a Financial Deal, (which is when the Outline Business Cases for all projects are developed and submitted to Government for consideration and clearance by Government through a process called Casework), anticipated by Government by the Spring/Summer of 2024.

It was outlined how discussions between Council and DFI are continuing in relation to the replacement of the structure of Queen’s Quay with confirmation that these works would not form part of the City Deal funded programme of work. Ongoing monitoring of the site will continue by DFI with a view to a feasibility study to review potential replacement options.

Among the proposals not included in the current City Deal funding package but being planned for is the potential relocation of the Council’s civic office to the Foyle Street site beside the Guildhall, to allow further expansion of the university, the remodelling of the road space along the remainder of the Foyle Embankment from Harbour Square to Foyleside Roundabout, the relocation of the Bus Station and the possibility of a connecting public transport/footbridge to the NW Transport Hub. Ongoing engagement with partner Government departments and stakeholders will continue to develop these wider potential regeneration proposals.

Members were advised that going forward the management and delivery of such a complex programme of projects of this scale and value will require a significant step change in terms of governance, staffing and resourcing. Promotional collateral including drawings and visuals to help create awareness and engagement are also to be progressed. Given Council’s climate pledge, a significant emphasis on climate change mitigation and sustainability will remain at the forefront of all the projects going forward.

Members at the meeting were unanimous in their approval for Council and its partners to advance with the continued development and submission to Government of this OBC.

The full paper can be accessed via the website at –

You can watch the meeting back on Youtube via –