The needs of people in the greater Shantallow area must be key to the decision on whether to allow Tesco to build a new supermarket on the Buncrana Road, a local councillor has said.
Sinn Fein’s Tony Hassan was joined at the site this week by his fellow Shantallow Colr. Elisha McLaughlin, Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney, and election candidate, Sandra Duffy.
Colr. Hassan said the Tesco issue is regularly raised on the doorsteps. “We all know the issues that have been associated with plans to build a new Tesco store on the Buncrana Road. The arguments have been made for and against the proposal by the various agencies but the message I have been receiving on the doorsteps in the greater Shantallow area over recent months is that local people want to have their say in all this. They want us as local representatives to be lobbying for such a major new development to happen in their area. They want jobs, they want investment and a modern shopping facility to service the community,” he said.
He acknowledged the concerns of city centre traders but said Buncrana Road cannot be regarded as ‘out-of-town.’
“The greater Shantallow area has a population of over 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.
“We are also very conscious of the need to protect city centre traders which 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 Tescos 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,” he said.