'Concerns' over Ilex performance

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A report into Ilex, Derry's urban regeneration company said stakeholders have "some concerns" over the company's performance.

A report into Ilex, Londonderry's urban regeneration company, has said that stakeholders consider its performance "disappointing".

The report, by independent consultants BDO, highlights a number of concerns including a lack of delivery on two sites at Ebrington and Fort George.

It also flags up delays in a regeneration plan for Derry.

The chairman of Ilex, Sir Roy McNulty, said the report "contained some helpful recommendations".

"We will take time to study it, working closely with our sponsor departments, before sending our response to ministers," he said.

Although Ilex's performance was deemed "poor" in its first years, the report said it had "turned a corner".

The findings of the public report were given to the First and Deputy First Ministers, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, as well as the Social Development Minister, Alex Attwood, on Friday.

The report acknowledges the leadership, focus and stability that the current Chair and Chief Executive of Ilex have brought to the company over the last few years.

In particular it highlights the progress being made on the new regeneration plan for the city, the construction of the Peace Bridge and the key role played by Ilex in securing the status of UK City of Culture 2013.

The Stormont ministers said they would give "detailed consideration" to the findings, which include a recommendation that Ilex should continue to take the lead in developing the Fort George and Ebrington sites as well as the regeneration plan.

Sir Roy McNulty said he "welcomed" the recommendation that Ilex should continue to take the lead in "pursuing an ambitious agenda of change".

"We are committed to delivering effective, measurable and tangible regeneration," he said.

"The final regeneration plan, complete with an investment and delivery plan, will be launched by the end of March and the eleven catalyst projects outlined in it are already being worked up.

"On 25 June the Peace Bridge will be launched and Phase 1 of the Parade Ground at Ebrington will be open to the public".

This is the first time Ilex has been scrutinised since it was set up seven years ago.