The needs of the people living in the Greater Shantallow area must be central to the decision whether or not to grant planning permission to a proposed new Tesco store on the Buncrana Road, Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has said.
Colr. Hassan insisted on Friday that the voice of local people must be heard in the debate after suggestions in the media that the Department of the Environment had granted approval for the huge store.
The Department however later quashed the claims with a spokesperson saying: “This scheme has not been approved and a final decision will not be taken until the statutory process has been completed, including consultation with Derry City Council.”
Colr. Hassan said: “We all know the issues that have been associated with plans to build a new Tescos store on the Buncrana Road. The arguments have been made for and against the proposal by the various agencies but the message I have been receiving on the doorsteps in the greater Shantallow area over recent months is that local people want to have their say in all this. They want us as local representatives to be lobbying for such a major new development to happen in their area. They want jobs, they want investment and a modern shopping facility to service the community.
He continued: “The greater Shantallow area has a population of over 30,000 people. It’s a growing population and a number of new housing developments have been earmarked for the area over the next number of years so there is a clear need for facilities such as this.
“We are also very conscious of the need to protect city centre traders which is why Sinn Féin have lobbied for rate relief for small businesses and we are continuing to press for new measures that would see a major reduction on the rates burden faced by city centre businesses.
“We will also continue to engage with major companies like Tescos to ensure that - if they do succeed in their planning application - that they incorporate social clauses to ensure that these developments create jobs and opportunities for the people who live in the area.”