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Residents oppose City of Culture campsite plans

Derry City Council is to meet residents of Browning Drive and Limavady Road who are objecting to plans to locate a camping site at St Columb’s Park during the City of Culture celebrations.

Council had planned to set up a temporary campsite in part of the Waterside public park to accommodate the influx of visitors expected for many of the events planned during 2013 but local residents have objected to the suggestion.

The matter was raised at a meeting of Derry City Council’s development committee in the Council headquarters on Tuesday.

A Council officer told councillors that a meeting had been held with representatives of local residents groups.

“We met with two residents groups from Browning Drive and Limavady Road. They notified us that they are going to object to the plans.

“We left it that we are going to be meeting with them again,” the officer told members.

The meeting between local residents and Council officers took place last week.

The officer also suggested that any further meetings should be held at the site of the proposed campsite so that residents could see the area for themselves. It was also suggested that councillors should attend.

Waterside SDLP colr Martin Reilly welcomed the suggestion that a meeting should be held on the site and that local residents be given the opportunity to address their concerns directly to councillors.

DUP alderman Drew Thompson also agreed with the proposal to hold a meeting at St Columb’s Park.

“That would be an important meeting and it is important too that residents are there to make their views known,” he explained.

More than 350 local residents have signed a petition opposing the plans to locate a temporary campsite at the Council-owned park.

Adrian McAuley, secretary of the Limavady Road Residents Group said residents were not opposed to the idea of a campsite for campers and caravans but said they do not believe St Columb’s Park is the right location.

“Our overwhelming view is that it’s not in the correct place,” he said.

Mr McAuley said St Columb’s Park is one of the city’s most historic places and questioned whether it would have the facilities to be used as a campsite.

“When those in a position of influence decided to draw up a master plan for the regeneration of the Ebrington and St Columb’s Park area, no caravan site was envisaged or needed.

“In terms of the City of Culture year, 33 pitches for caravans and tents is not going to come any way close to resolving the accommodation problem. “What is needed is a site which can accommodate large numbers of caravanners without compromising our history. I’m sure an arrangement can be put in place for a large, temporary site for City of Culture year and then a smaller site for the following years,” he added.

 

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