Culmore plans to go to minister

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The Planning Service have rejected claims that they are ignoring Culmore residents who are objecting to a major housing development in the area.

The matter was discussed at the monthly meeting of Derry City Council’s planning committee on Tuesday when local councillors voiced concerns about plans to build 243 residential units and a large shop at an area known as ‘the barley field’ in Ballynagard, Culmore.

The item had been deferred from a previous planning meeting.

More than 440 local residents have lodged complaints regarding the development but the Planning Service have recommended that it receive approval.

SDLP councillor Angela Dobbins said Culmore residents feel ignored by the planners. “For six years not there has been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing regarding this development but nothing much has changed or been amended. The sooner the planning authority reverts back to the council the better. We seem to be in touch with our communities and their needs.

“All the residents wanted was to be listened to. All the developer had to do was listen. The residents were not against development but against the scale and design,” she said.

Sinn Féin colr. Tony Hassan called for more consultation with the residents of the area. “The developers would need to spend the next five years sitting down with the residents before they can put one brick in this area. I have not heard one person who is against development but what I have heard is a lot of people object to the size of the development. We need to support the residents and get a proper consultation,” he said.

Tony McIvor from the Planning Service said the views of local residents are taken into account. “We take extremely seriously the views of objectors. We do not ignore people. We look at all objections. We may not agree with them but they are carefully considered,” he said.

Colr. Dobbins proposed that the matter should be referred to the environment minister and that the approval should be held until the minister makes a decision on the development. All councillors agreed to the proposal.