Northern Ireland

Scale of empty Derry factory space revealed

Derry city
Image caption Ilex was established to promote the economic and social regeneration of Derry

More than one million square feet of industrial space is lying vacant and available for rent in Londonderry.

Those are the findings of an audit complied by Derry's urban regeneration company Ilex.

The audit was obtained by BBC Radio Foyle.

The largest available unit is the former Fruit of the Loom factory in Campsie, which covers 19 acres, which closed in 2004, and has been lying empty for several years.

Also on the market for purchase or rent are several large and small units at Campsie, Springtown and Pennyburn industrial estates, as well as 45 office units.

The most prominent of these is the former Ulster Bank on Waterloo Place, which is on sale for £2m.

Some of the units were built with public money.

The financial journalist Paul Gosling told BBC Radio Foyle that this report showed the depth of Derry's economic difficulties.

He said that it provided clear evidence that government intervention to increase the supply of industrial units does not work on its own, and the government needed to increase economic demand.

Ilex, the urban regeneration company, is yet to respond to the leaking of the confidential report.