Northern Ireland

Redevelopment of Brandywell set for 'green light'

Brandywell Stadium
Image caption Derry City say the redevelopment of Brandywell is set to go ahead

Derry City Football Club has said the redevelopment of Brandywell Stadium is to get the go-ahead within a fortnight.

The club's chairman Phil O'Doherty said a new stand with a capacity of 2,500 will be built on the Lone Moor Road side of the stadium.

New changing rooms, offices and possibly corporate facilities could be included in the project, which is expected to take two years to complete.

Derry City Council owns the stadium and the project would need its approval.

The council said its position on the matter had not changed, but it was hoping a decision would be made within weeks.

"As previously stated, council received confirmation from Sport NI that its application for financial assistance, under Phase IV of the Stadia Safety Programme, has been approved in principle, and prioritized for funding.

"However, this is subject to Sport NI securing the required capital funds within the Comprehensive Spending Review for 2011-2014.

"The Council is awaiting the outcome of this review so that it can look at a number of options in the overall context of the regeneration of the city as a whole," a spokesperon said.

Debate over

Mr O'Doherty said he had been informed that the project would "definitely go ahead".

"The board of directors are hopefully going to be given some input into the detailed design," he said.

"I think the overall programme from start to finish, including planning permission, detailed design, construction: it's probably going to take two years."

The chairman said the new stand would be "almost a mirror image" of the South End side of the ground.

A section of the club's fans had called for a move away from Brandywell, but Mr O'Doherty said that debate was now over, at least in the medium-term.

In 2006, ambitious plans were announced to build a new £15m, 7,000-seater stadium at Brandywell, after the council invited tenders for its redevelopment.

Brandywell Properties, a company set up by Derry City FC to oversee the plan, was named preferred bidder.

However, last year the council voted to regain control of the stadium's redevelopment.

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