Plans for major foodstore at Arntz complex

The former Arntz Belting Company size at Pennyburn Pass. DER5314MC028

The former Arntz Belting Company size at Pennyburn Pass. DER5314MC028

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Plans for a major foodstore, forecourt and a number of other new facilities on the site of the Arntz Belting site at Pennyburn were last night being processed by the government.

The government has now confirmed that the plans for the currently vacant 12-acre site - previously rumoured to be a possible location for a major Asda store in Derry- were submitted last week.

It is understood the owners of the site have submitted the proposals in conjunction with a number of local business figures.

Sinn Fein Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin gave the proposals, the details of which will be published by the Department for the Environment once processed, a cautious welcome.

She said: “I think first of all its welcome that fact we have something substantial now on paper for that site. We have been arguing for some considerable time that it needs to be zoned for employment purposes.

“It is at the very early stages and we need to make sure consultation takes place and all issues such as road access are properly addressed.”

The proposals are understood to include a food superstore and four other retail units, a medical centre, a research and development centre, and a filling station.

Engineering firm, Arntz Belting Company, closed down in 2010 with the loss of 115 jobs.

The German-owned company had been operating in Derry since 1968 and its closure was attributed to the economic downturn and a resulting reduction in orders.

The employees, many of whom had worked their decades, made timing belts for vehicles and machinery.

Ms McLaughlin said: “This is a substantial site and the residents living beside it and the wider community are very keen to see it developed. Their views need to be taken onboard. It also needs to fit with the proposals for Fort George and we must be clear on the employment aspect.”

A spokesman for the Department for the Environment said; “We can confirm an application has been received on December 18th and is being processed.”