Decisions imminent on major Derry retail plans
Decisions on nine major retail planning applications for Derry are imminent, Environment Minister Alex Attwood has said.
However, Mr Attwood has revealed that only a “smaller number and not a greater number” of the submissions - which include applications for Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda superstores - will be given the green light. Speaking in Derry on Friday, when he launched a major new retail capacity study to help map out the future for shopping in Derry, the Minister said it was his aim to ensure that the “process is as right as it could be” for the city.
“Derry City is the main shopping destination in the North-West and decisions on the current retail applications will define the future of Derry’s retail offering for many years to come. These are not decisions that can be taken lightly and this study will greatly assist me in making the right decisions for Derry,” he said.
Prospective developers involved in the major applications for large scale retail space at the respective locations - Buncrana Road, Caw, Crescent Link (3 submissions), Rossdowney Road, Springtown, Drumahoe - have been invited to comment on the new study before final decisions are taken.
Mr Attwood added that his key aim was to ensure that Derry city centre was protected, while growing jobs and the local economy. “I understand that retailers in the city face significant challenges in the current economic climate and therefore in deciding on these largely out-of-town applications, I will want to take full account of the overall impact on the city centre. I want to re-emphasise my own personal commitment to the regeneration of Derry city centre as the economic heart of the North West.”
Among the findings of the retail capacity report are the following key points: Retailers in the Derry area benefit from cross border trade. Of the areas surveyed in North and East Donegal, 44% of respondents regularly carry out their main food shopping in the city; A significant proportion of those surveyed in Strabane who prefer to carry out their main food shop in the town were resident in Derry; Shopper preferences are fairly evenly split between major existing food stores throughout the city.
During his visit the Minister also announced a another tranche of funding for works to be completed in the city centre ahead of the City of Culture year in 2013.
Up to £30,000 is to be granted towards the maintenance of the feature lighting of Derry City Walls, the only complete set of town walls in Ireland. He revealed that a further £700,000 is to be freed up for built heritage projects on the city’s Walls and Gates, listed buildings at risk, and to fund archaeological digs.
He said: “The city Walls are key to tourism in the city centre. I am pleased that my Department can provide some assistance by providing lighting through walkways that will assist with public safety whilst subtly enhancing this important monument.” The funding announcement followed the allocation last year of £900,000 in listed building grants for Derry. Copies of the Derry retail study are available for inspection in the Area Planning Office in Derry and Belfast and copies are also available upon request.
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Weather for Derry
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
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