Derry businesses are being called on to work together to support business growth in the city ahead of the £105 million City Deal being delivered.
The call comes from the Strand Road Traders group who this week held an investment event in the Omniplex Cinema which was attended by representatives from across the political, business and tourism sectors.
The Duddy Group, owners of the Holiday Inn Express joined Omniplex Holdings NI, to reveal investment of over £30 million in their facilities on Strand Road as an example of private sector confidence in Derry City Centre.
Celebrating with other Strand Road Traders, Paul John Anderson and Brendan Duddy called on fellow businesses to work together to support their business growth ahead of the City Deal being delivered..
Paul John Anderson, director of Omniplex Holdings NI, said private sector investment from small businesses who receive little or no public sector funding was the “backbone of the economy.”
He added: “We believe that investing in city centre development at a time when the challenges have never been greater, is critical to build consumer confidence in our tourism and business offering,” he told the gathering of local traders.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Michaela Boyle, pledged her support for the Strand Road Traders.
Welcoming their coming together to celebrate their joint investment and to share business ideas, she said: “Council is very supportive of the work being done by the local business community across the city and district and recognises that small businesses are the backbone to the local economy, sustaining jobs and providing essential services to the public.
“Council through its Strategic Growth Plan is committed to delivering its objectives for developing Derry’s city centre and bringing about prosperity, investment and growth across the city and district.
“Through our City Deal we are committed to delivering on major regeneration projects along the riverfront and Queen’s Quay that will in turn allow businesses in the Strand Road to reap the benefits from that investment.
“We firmly believe that investment in growth is essential and we must continue to build on the significant progress that has been made so far in realising the objectives of our Strategic Growth Plan and investing in growth without placing unreasonable demands on businesses and homeowners. We remain committed to bringing about economic growth and investment that will deliver town centre regeneration which will in turn has the potential to change the physical and economic landscape within this Council area.”
Brendan Duddy, chairperson of the Duddy Group, said the “City Centre First” investment and planning strategy of the Council was imperative to preserve the lifeblood of investment.
But, he was clear that business must not abandon responsibility for working together to make the most of the wider support available.
He said: “The city centre is the beating heart of Derry and is an essential draw for tourists and business events. That heart needs to be nurtured and supported not just by our political and business representatives but by us all working together.
“Already we have seen synergies with the development of the Cinema driving a strong evening culture for entertainment and food. Visitors to the hotels have those facilities within walking distance and our investment in more hotel beds makes the city an even more attractive proposition for short breaks, conferences and conventions. Today is an invaluable networking opportunity for those of us on Strand Road and we hope will provide an example to other parts of the city.”
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