Parts of Derry's historic Boom Hall are in 'imminent danger' of collapsing, council meeting told today

Work to stabilise the building could cost up to £800,000

Boom Hall

Boom Hall is currently in a terrible condition.

New concerns emerged today about the condition of Derry's historic Boom Hall building.

Appeals have been made in recent years for more to be done to preserve the building which is in such bad condition that the land around it has been secured off.

In 2018, Derry City and Strabane District Council, which owns Boom Hall, commissioned Alastair Coey Architects to carry out a Conservation Management Plan to assess the state of the building.

Peter Robinson today outlined the details of the plan at a meeting of the council's Environment and Regeneration committee in the Guildhall.

Mr Robinson told the meeting that their work had shown that parts of the 18th century house were in 'imminent danger' of collapse.

He said 'essential' remedial works were needed to stabilise the main building and the adjoining stable block.

Only when this work was completed, Mr Robinson said, could further inspections be carried out to assess the state of the buildings in more detail and any potential future use for them.

A report prepared by council officers for today's meeting estimated that the cost of stabilising the buildings could be up to £800,000.

"Officers are continuing to liaise with Council’s Lead Financial Officer and the Capital Working Group in terms of identifying a suitable budget source and sum, in order to undertake these essential works," the report stated.

"Officers propose to bring back a report to E&R Committee providing a budgetary update on this matter and to seek approval to commit a budget and undertake appropriate stabilisation works."

The report highlighted that two organisations, Foyle River Gardens (FRG) and Boom Hall Trust (BHT), had separately put forward development proposals in recent years for the Boom Hall site, including the buildings and the land around it.

The report stated: "Council Officers have maintained regular communication with both FRG and BHT on operational matters, as they continue to develop their proposals.

"To date, Council has not formally committed to any group in relation to confirming the lands or any other related arrangement such as preferred development partner status etc.

"Given the level of interest expressed by the organisations currently looking to develop proposals for the site, Officers are of the view that it is appropriate to consider putting in place a formal process to advance suitable development proposals for the site.

"Given the strategic importance of this Council-owned site, then it may be appropriate that a development partnership model is progressed.

"Unlike outright disposal of the asset, a development partnership model ensures that Council retains a controlling interest over its asset, in ensuring that any proposals being brought forward are consistent with the strategic regeneration vision for the City and District."

Councillors at today's meeting spoke of the historical importance of Boom Hall and said everyone was supportive of efforts to protect and restore the building.

Councillors agreed to a recommendation that the council invite expressions of interest in developing the site, as well as looking in the short-term at how best to stabilise the buildings.

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