Derry and Strabane council rates bill rises by 2.76%

Derry City
Image caption Council say the money will also go toward community services

Derry City and Strabane District Council has agreed a new rates rise of 2.76%.

The increase, which was agreed on Wednesday, will cost householders about £12 more per year on average.

The council's chief executive said the hike will be used to bring thousands of jobs to the North West.

"Council will in this incoming year further lead and promote development and investment across the City and District," John Kelpie said.

"Council will build on last year's growth, which saw our domestic and non-domestic rates base grow for the first time in many years, compared to an overall average reduction across other Council areas in Northern Ireland."

'Critical'

Mr Kelpie said significant investment had been earmarked towards the Brandywell Redevelopment Project, new leisure facilities in Templemore and Strabane, as well as investment in parks, greenways and regeneration projects.

The rates rise has been greeted with some concern from local businessmen.

Strabane Hotelier John Kelly urged council to deliver on promises of economic growth.

"If the rate payer in the area is expected to absorb these increases, then it is absolutely critical that our district council deliver on the strategic and community plan to bring about the economic growth in the area, growth that it so dearly needs and deserves."

In the last few years the area has also played host to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, UK City of Culture and its annual Halloween festivals.

As part of the rates agreement, £500,000 has been allocated towards major events.

More on this story