‘Give Tesco green light’

Sinn F�in Councillor Tony Hassan, representative Sandra Duffy, Raymond McCartney MLA, and Councillor Elisha McLaughlin at the site of the proposed new Tesco store at Buncrana Road.
Sinn F�in Councillor Tony Hassan, representative Sandra Duffy, Raymond McCartney MLA, and Councillor Elisha McLaughlin at the site of the proposed new Tesco store at Buncrana Road.

Modern shopping facilities are needed in the Shantallow district to cope with an anticipated population surge in the next few years, according to a local councillor.

Sinn Fein’s Tony Hasson spoke out after it was revealed that a major planning application for a new food store at Buncrana Road is to be reconsidered after “serious procedural errors” were found.

The errors were discovered after Environment Minister Alex Attwood called for a review of all Article 31 planning applications.

It revealed that Donegal Council was not involved in plans for the food store.

Mr. Attwood described the errors as “unacceptable” and which have resulted in his department’s notice of opinion being withdrawn and the application reprocessed.

He said: “The identification of these cases validates the need for the review of Article 31 applications. Nevertheless it is not good enough for this to happen and I have told planning officials bluntly of my views and what now needs to happen.”

Recently the minister revealed an error in the planning application for a new North-South electricity interconnector planning application.

This led to all other major applications being rechecked.

Tony Hassan has welcomed the review and, at the same time, has renewed his call for a proposed Tesco development in the same area to proceed.

He said: “The greater Shantallow area has a population in excess of 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.

“People want jobs, they want investment and a modern shopping facility to service the community.”

Colr. Hassan says he’s also very conscious of the need to protect city centre traders.

“This 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 Tesco 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 both at construction stage and long-term.”

Tesco has said its proposed 25,000 sq ft superstore at Buncrana Road would meet the “needs of the current and future residents of the northern suburbs of the city.”

The company says: “This store would benefit the local economy by bringing new jobs to the area, which has a high level of unemployment.

“Positions would be created in-store when the Buncrana Road superstore, selling groceries and some non-food items, has opened.

“There would also be a boost for the construction industry during the build of the store.”