Retailers feel ‘let down’

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Independent retailers feel “angry and let down” by Derry City Council’s failure to talk with them over the future of retail in the city centre.

Speaking on behalf of Derry retailers, Glyn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Traders Association said there was a “lack of urgency” from the local authority in reponding to its plans to safeguard independent traders’ businesses in the city centre.

In April the NIIRTA and Derry City Centre Traders Forum submitted a five point plan to regenerate city centre retail to Derry City Council. However, Mr Roberts said that local retailerss had had no response from the council. “We have heard nothing back from the council. We’re very disappointed and many traders who put forward their ideas and solutions to the retail issues feel very angry to be let down. We’ve heard from all the other agencies involved: Ilex, the North West Development Office, the City Centre Initiative, and the Chamber of Commerce but the council have given no formal response,” Mr Roberts added.

NIIRTA AND DCCTF are now seeking a second meeting with Derry City Council CEO Sharon O’Connor and her officers to discuss their plans to save Derry City Centre trade. A spokesperson for Derry City Council said that it continues to work with the key strategic partners including Ilex, North West Development Office, CCI, the Chamber of Commerce and the local Planning Office to progress the matters raised in the five point plan. Mr Roberts made his comments after it was announced by Environment Minister Alex Attwood that he is to make a major announcement on the future of retail in Derry. Mr Attwood said he is to outline the findings of a retail impact study carried out by his department in the coming weeks. He is due to visit the city on August 29.