Multi-million redevelopment of Derry train station set for council green light
MULTI-million pound plans to develop the former Waterside Train Station in Derry have been given the provisional council green light.
The £27 million North West Transport Hub has been recommended for approval by Derry City & Strabane District Council, with a final decision on the proposals due to be made at Wednesday's planning committee meeting.
The ambitious multi-million pound plans for a new multi-modal transport hub include the demolition of the existing station to make way for a new train terminus, bus stands, park-and-ride facility, passenger waiting area, retail units and community space. The project, which Translink states, sets a new standard in sustainable transport, has already secured significant European funding, and will support continued passenger growth including up to 1100 new local and cross border bus and connecting rail services.
The proposals have been met with local opposition however, with over 2,800 people signing an online petition calling on planning bodies to reject the multi-million redevelopment of the train station. Campaigners have called for the plans to be changed to ensure that trains will go inside the train station, rather than pull up alongside it.
Translink head of projects, John Glass said the redevelopment is a "huge opportunity" for the north west region and represents a "major investment" in Derry.
"It will transform travel and enhance connectivity between train, bus, and other sustainable transport modes," he said.
"We want a new facility that enables further growth for up to 650,000 passengers across the north west region helping to make public transport your first choice for travel. We have worked in close partnership with several organisations on both sides of the border to develop this proposal to build stronger north /south infrastructure links and encourage a modal shift from car to public transport and other healthier active travel options.”
In response to the objections to the proposals, Mr Glass believes the investment will enhance the overall customer experience.
"By removing the existing station and railway lines we are able to open up views over the River Foyle from the new hub as well as provide important park and ride facilities for our customers."
“The transport infrastructure, social and economic benefits that the Multi-Modal Transport Hub will deliver has the potential to be a catalyst for further investment and tourism, making the local area more attractive to business and investors, creating jobs and enhancing the economy," he added.
A previous pre-application community consultation exercise secured 97 per cent support from the public. Retail NI, Derry Chamber of Commerce and Trade, the CBI and Tourism NI are among the groups to express support for the plans.
Regional director of the CBI, Angela McGowan said businesses on both sides of the border fully support the proposed transport hub.
"Improving connections between the north-west and the rest of the island of Ireland will result in local firms having access to a greater pool of skills and talent, supporting higher productivity in the area," she said.