Fears raised listing 3ft historic Derry pillar on Buncrana Road could impact A2 plans

Derry City and Strabane District Council have expressed concerns about the proposed listing of a historical boundary post in the city, which could impede the planned Buncrana Road expansion.
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The application to list the three posts, at Limavady Road, Dungiven Road and Buncrana Road, was presented at a meeting of the Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday, November 30.

The Council’s Senior Planning Officer, John Spottiswood, said two of the cast iron posts were dated 1864 and marked the limits of the city at that time after it had been extended.

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The 3ft cast-iron free-standing boundary marker on Buncrana Road was originally the perimeter of the administrative jurisdiction of the ‘Municipal Corporation of Londonderry’. The post is located on the footpath of the southwest side of the Buncrana Road, opposite 1 Maybrook Mews.

The boundary post on the Buncrana Road.The boundary post on the Buncrana Road.
The boundary post on the Buncrana Road.

Mr Spottiswood said: “They’re quite important as a testament to the expansion of the city and have a collective group value with the other surviving boundary post on Northland Road”.

The third boundary post, dated approximately as 1842, marks the previous city boundary and is on Dungiven Road. It is one of only two remaining posts and the only one to remain intact.

Mr Spottiswood said the listing would not impact any permissions or planning applications and the posts add “to the visual and historic interest of this part of the city and district”.

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Waterside Sinn Féin District Councillor Christopher Jackson said it was “remarkable” that the posts were intact, considering their age”.

Previously released proposals for widening Buncrana Road.Previously released proposals for widening Buncrana Road.
Previously released proposals for widening Buncrana Road.

“Particularly the one in Dungiven Road,” he continued. “I’ve passed it thousands of times and never recognised its significance. It’s right that it’s recognised and protected.”

However, he was concerned that the listing of the other post would interfere with plans to expand the A2, specifically at the Buncrana Road.

“From our perspective, this expansion significantly outweighs its historic value. Is this listing an impediment to the delivery of the upgrade? Because we would have serious reservations.”

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A Council Officer said the design for the Buncrana Road had not been finalised, but assured Colr. Jackson that the Council would communicate these concerns to the Department of Communities.

The boundary posts on Dungiven Road (left) and Limavady Road.The boundary posts on Dungiven Road (left) and Limavady Road.
The boundary posts on Dungiven Road (left) and Limavady Road.

Derg UUP Alderman Derek Hussey asked if the listing applied to the item, regardless of location, or the item ‘in situ’.

He said: “Obviously, because of its nature, where it’s sited is relevant. We certainly wouldn’t want to impede progress, but at the same time you don’t want to wipe out history.”

A Council Officer said the posts were in the same category as any listed building and the post’s location and how it demarked the boundary, would be important considerations when deciding to list the posts.

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The Moor SDLP District Councillor John Boyle agreed that, while the Council wants to protect historical items, it “can’t stand in the way of progress”.

He concluded: “If they could move it when the road’s expanded, to somewhere near where it was, that would be a compromise. If it’s listed and stays exactly where it is, that’s not going to work."

Andrew Balfour,

Local Democracy Reporter