BDPs Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place in Derry officially opens
The regeneration of Derry’s Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place has left the city with a modern heart that blends in with its listed buildings and historic walls which date from the 1600s.
Landscape architects BDP’s design for the area included new lighting, seating and water features, and provided a flexible space for city dwellers and visitors to enjoy. It also included new areas to display artwork. The project aimed to revitalise the old commercial heart of the city and bolster Derry’s international image to attract more business people and tourists.
It fared well when ranked by CEEQUAL, a scheme designed to promote sustainability by assessing 12 environmental and social factors. The project achieved a score of 92.1% – the highest to date for a Public Realm scheme.
To reduce problems with dust, noise and vibration for city dwellers the teams used off-site works and storage. They also preserved a number of existing oak trees and chose plants which would benefit local wildlife, as well as erecting bat boxes.
Aside from the aesthetic overhaul, water and gas mains along with electricity cables had to be replaced and upgraded, and the flow of traffic in the area altered. This was to reduce conflict between pedestrians and vehicles, while taking care not to damage local trade.
The completed project was officially opened by Northern Ireland Social Development Minister Alex Attwood on December 20. He said: “This scheme has created an attractive, welcoming city centre space for people to enjoy and has generated tangible economic benefits. A scheme of this quality highlights the value of urban regeneration.”
The city’s mayor Colum Eastwood congratulated all the teams involved with the project, and described it as “a major success story” for Derry.