Petrol station decision deferred by Derry councillors

Photo credit Yui Mok/PA Wire
Photo credit Yui Mok/PA Wire

A decision on whether to give planning permission for a new unmanned filling station and car wash development in Derry has been deferred after 23 objections were received.

The proposal put forward involves the redevelopment of vacant lands for an unattended, 24 hour operating filling station with four fuel dispensers, canopy and underground fuel tanks and was recommended for approval by Planning officials.

The application also involves a fuel cash and carry sales building and car wash on the same site, at lands adjacent to Rossdowney Road and Crescent Link Junction.

The matter came before Tuesday’s meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Planning Committee, with the applicant listed as Lissan Coal Company and their agent Taggart Design.

The objections were lodged by residents of nearby Blackthorn Manor on copies of the same letter.

The letter raises four questions around noise levels and loss of privacy, traffic impact, visual impact and air pollution, and uninterrupted disruption due to the 24 hour nature of the business.

However the complaints were investigated and consulted on, before ultimately being rejected and a decision to approve put forward.

In a presentation before the committee, a resident said they were already suffering as a result of the traffic congestion around Crescent Link Retail park and asked “Would you like a petrol station outside your front door?”

He added people would be afraid to open their windows because of fumes the residents have asked for a postponement.

Agent Jason Taggart told the committee there would be 43 cameras monitoring the site.

Picking up on comments by objector that there were already some loitering in the area, Mr Taggart said that there was no shop or any reason to loiter at the station.

SDLP Councillor Gus Hastings said: “I don’t know how Transport NI say it won’t adversely affect traffic because Crescent Link is a disaster area at this present moment in time.”

Sinn Fein Colr Christopher Jackson said he was similarly “astounded” at Transport NI’s assessment.

Mr Taggart said they would be happy to talk to neighbours regarding any concerns they might have during construction and in the future.

SDLP Colr Brian Tierney said his concerns had grown during the meeting.

He questioned how noise impact could be assessed when it wasn’t built and was told by the agent that all their other operating stations were monitored for a noise report.

Colr. Tierney he was also not convinced there would not be loitering.

SF Colr Dan Kelly asked whether the canopy design which sweeps down towards the ground would result in people trying to climb it, and was told that unless you were Spiderman you could not climb it.

Colr.Jackson said he believed CCTV would act as a deterrant to antisocial behaviour.

DUp Colr Hilary Clintock said she had fill sympathy with the residents and raised concerns that the site was near a cemetery, visual amenity and access.

“I don’t believe the the local network can take it. Sinn Fein Collrs proposed and seconded the application but the SDLP and Unionist Councillors refused to back it and the matter was deferred to ask Transport NI to look again at the traffic impact and associated concerns.