Nod for Derry City covered terrace plans



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Planning permission granted for Derry City FC Image: Derry City FC

The League of Ireland Premier Division club Derry City F.C. has been granted planning permission by the Derry City and the Strabane District Council for the development of a new covered terrace at The Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium in Derry, Northern Ireland (UK).

‘Derry Journal’ stated that the Brandywell club declared its ‘delight’ at the recent progress with the club Chairman Philip O’Doherty and the Board of Directors stating they are “keen to ensure that we now move ahead with this process as soon as possible”.

The League of Ireland Premier Division, also known as the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division for sponsorship reasons, is the top level division in both the League of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland football league system. The division was formed in 1985 following a reorganization of the League of Ireland.

The Derry City Football Club is a professional association football club based in Derry, Northern Ireland (UK). They play in the League of Ireland Premier Division, the top tier of league football in the Republic of Ireland, and are the League of Ireland’s only participant from Northern Ireland.

The 3,700-capacity The Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium is a municipal football stadium in Derry, Northern Ireland (UK). It is the home ground of the League of Ireland team Derry City F.C.

‘Derry Journal’ further stated that a statement from the club read, “The Derry City F.C. is delighted to note that the planning permission has been confirmed today (October 4th) for the proposed new stand at The Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. The Chairman and the Board of Directors at the club are keen to ensure that we now move ahead with this process as soon as possible. Part of The Brandywell Stadium’s Southend Park stand will be demolished as part of plans for the new North Terrace stand which has received planning permission from Derry City and the Strabane District Council. The club will meet with the stakeholders at the earliest opportunity and update supporters as soon as we have an agreed timeframe. We wish to record our thanks to the Derry City and the Strabane District Council for their help to date.”

Strabane (UK)-based the Strabane District Council is a Government administrative organization that provides local community services.

The proposed safe-standing North Terrace at the Brandywell Road end of the ground will accommodate 2,940 supporters which will increase the overall capacity of the Lone Moor Road venue to 6,242.

The planning application for the works and redevelopment of the Council-owned stadium comprising partial demolition of the Southend Stand and development of the new terrace, male and female toilet facilities, two sets of turnstiles and gates, was unanimously approved by the Council officers at a meeting of the Planning Committee on October 4th.

The stadium capacity will have the potential to increase further to 7,408 when the permitted works to the Mark Farren Stand are completed.

The Northern Ireland Water initially objected to the construction on the grounds that the proposed development is located in an area where the Northern Ireland Water foul sewerage network is subject to capacity constraints and has the potential to adversely affect the surface water environment.

However, the Northern Ireland Water agreed to produce a site-specific development solution in conjunction with the Derry City F.C. in order to mitigate any potential issues and remain “keen to support the development of the Brandywell Stadium upgrade project”.

Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) is the sole provider of water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland. It was established in April 2007 as a Government-Owned Company (GoCo). The NI Water supplies 560 million liters of clean water a day for almost 1.8 million people. It also treats 320 million liters of wastewater a day.

Mark McIvor, Director of MCI Planning and the agent acting on behalf of Derry City F.C., said the club will continue to liaise with NI Water and once they receive the necessary feedback, they will be in a position to continue with the construction plans – “I welcome the Planning Officers’ recommendation to approve the application following their assessment of the proposal against planning policy (which) will deliver much-needed community infrastructure for the City. The design team appointed to deliver this project are familiar with the stadium having worked on, designed and delivered the partially completed Mark Farren Stand. The North Stand will enable more fans to attend games and participate in the match night experience. Currently, this is not always possible for everyone due to the limited capacity in the stadium and the high levels of demand. An informal public consultation was held both online and at the Brandywell Stadium promoting this proposal. It was very well attended by the local councilors, residents and supporters alike. During that event the proposals received overwhelming support and it was abundantly clear that there was a strong desire for this project to proceed.”

In relation to the NI Water concerns, McIvor insisted that his planning and design team are in regular contact and hope to have any issues resolved “in a timely manner. We have done everything we can in terms of bringing forward the assessment. We are currently awaiting feedback from NI Water on that and on receipt of that feedback we will then be in a position to consider and then I can respond in more detail in due course when that arrives. Obviously, the Planning Officers are recommending a condition that stipulates that the stand does not become operational until that has been resolved. I think it’s in everyone’s interests and everyone’s desire to have that resolved in a timely manner and well before the new stand is completed.”

When asked about the potential for further capacity in the new stand, McIvor revealed that it was the intention of Derry City F.C. to install rail seating which would allow them to increase the capacity without having to expand the stand any further – “That capacity has been looked at by the design team and they feel the capacity put forward is actually the maximum capacity that can be achieved when one takes into consideration health and safety requirements. The club has futureproofed the use of the stand and are currently considering the introduction of racked or rail seating which is used in other grounds right throughout Europe. This effectively affords the applicant an opportunity to utilize seats or standing depending on the nature of the competition at the time.”

Speaking after the meeting, the Chair of the Planning Committee, Councilor Sean Mooney, said, “This is very welcome news for the football fans, as it will significantly enhance the visitor experience at the stadium. I am delighted to see these plans progressing well. I want to acknowledge the work of the various teams within the Council who have been working closely with the Derry City F.C. and the local community to progress the project. It will be fantastic for the club and a great resource for the local sporting community, and I look forward to seeing the work commence on site.”

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