A former military site in Londonderry has taken a step closer to being transformed into a housing-and-office development.
SDLP environment minister Mark H Durkan approved outline plans for the ex-MoD Fort George site, which contains designs for residential, office, education, retail, food-and-drink and parking development.
The site covers 6.2 hectares (15.3 acres), and plans for its redevelopment have been on the cards for years.
The plans also allow for de-contamination and infilling of the site.
Mr Durkan dubbed the approved plans “great news” for the whole region.
“The development framework provides the blueprint for the physical regeneration and investment priorities for this pivotal site,” he added in a statement announcing the move.
“I believe that this approval will also serve to reinvigorate this part of the city both physically and functionally. It will have positive impacts on an improved public realm and river frontage.”
Meanwhile, DUP social development minister Mervyn Storey called the move “a major step towards the further redevelopment of a strategic site”.
The applicant for the development is the Department for Social Development (DSD) itself.
The site was used for shipbuilding from the 1880s to the 1920s.
It was the primary base for Allied warships which were tasked with defending the trans-Atlantic shipping lanes.
It took on the name Fort George in 1969 when the Army took control.
The MoD continued using it until 2001, when control was transferred to the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners, before being acquired by the DSD in 2004.