Derry's historic centre voted Northern Ireland's 'best place'

A planning accolade awarded to Derry is deserved recognition for efforts to regenerate and reunify the city, the organisers have said.

Derry's historic centre, the landmark Peace Bridge across the Foyle and the redeveloped Ebrington barracks site on the other side of the water, have collectively been named Northern Ireland's "best place".

The competition organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute Northern Ireland celebrates places protected, planned or improved by town planners.

Nearly 4,000 people voted on a shortlist of 10 locations, with Derry coming out on top.

RTPI president Stephen Wilkinson said: "Being crowned the best place in Northern Ireland is recognition of the outstanding work planners have made to the regeneration and reunification of the city.

Beverley Clyde of RTPI NI, David Mounstephen of RTPI NI best places independent judging panel, chief planning officer Fiona McCandless, Stephen Wilkinson of MRTPI, deputy mayor of Derry John Boyle, planning committee chairman Dan Kelly and Karen Philips of Derry City and Strabane District Council. Photo: Lorcan Doherty/PA Wire

"Good planning has been pivotal in the city's hugely successful, ongoing waterfront regeneration focused around its historic core, the Peace Bridge and Ebrington barracks.

"Together these elements have re-defined the city as a great place to live, work and for new investment."

Accepting the award, the deputy mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, John Boyle, said:

"We are absolutely delighted to have secured this prestigious accolade and it is testament to fantastic work that has been done to regenerate the city through close collaborative working.

"This award reflects the positive impact the Peace Bridge and Ebrington have had on the lives of the people of the city and district.

The Peace Bridge in Derry. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

"The Peace Bridge and Ebrington are significant regeneration investment projects that have had a huge impact on both the local community and visitors.

"The projects have both contributed to our local economy and tourism offering, as well as our overall health and well-being.

"They symbolise the city's positivity and aspirations for the future and I am delighted that the city has been acknowledged for such a prestigious accolade and I would like to extend my congratulations to everyone involved."

Rathlin Island came second in the competition, with Armagh's Georgian centre placing third.

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