31/01/2005

Green light given for Derry city hotel site

The regeneration of Londonderry city centre was given a significant boost today with the announcement that the Department of Social Development had repossessed the former City Hotel site in Foyle Street.

Announcing the purchase, Social Development Minister, John Spellar, said the site, which has lain empty for almost ten years, was a key development site within the inner city.

“It is now available for development and I have asked the North West Development Office to open urgent discussions with key stakeholders in the city including Derry City Council and ILEX about the potential preferred uses of the site,” he added.

The Director of the North West Development Office, Declan O’Hare, acknowledged that there have been difficulties in bringing about development of the one acre city centre site.

He said: “The site was earmarked for a hotel and multi-storey car park development in 1996 following a public development competition.

“Following the failure of the company awarded a license to construct the hotel, City Hotel (Derry) Ltd, to develop the site, the Department for Social Development sought re-possession of the site in 1999.

“This was resisted by the company, leading to a protracted legal battle in the High Court and Lands Tribunal, which culminated in a ruling last week that the Department was entitled to re-enter and possess the site.”

The news that the site is back in the ownership of the North West Development Office has been welcomed by local political and business leaders.

SDLP Assembly Member for Foyle, Pat Ramsey, said: “This has been a long awaited decision, which I welcome. The site is a valuable asset that can now be used for the economic benefit of everyone living in Derry.”

(MB)

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