Braidwater frustrated at delay to £35m 240-home housing scheme

An overhead view of the prospective development indicated by red outline.
An overhead view of the prospective development indicated by red outline.

The developer of a £35m, 240-home project in Drumahoe that will yield up to 80 construction jobs over five years has expressed disappointment after failing to secure planning approval this week.

Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Planning Committee declined to approve Eglinton developer Braidwater’s plans for the substantial development due to concerns about drainage and flooding.

The development was recommended for approval by planning officers and prompted no objections from NI Water, DfI Rivers Agency or DfI Roads, but councillors said they wanted to be absolutely certain there was no flood risk on the site before granting permission to develop.

Tom Stokes, representing Braidwater, said his client had fully engaged with residents of the area throughout the entire planning process.

Braidwater had also acceded to local residents’ requests for the new scheme to have its own stand-alone drainage network rather than one connected to The Beeches next door.

The committee heard how a 1,200 millimetre drainage pipe that will transfer storm water from the new estate and take it across the Glenshane Road into the River Faughan was deemed adequate by NI Water, which will ultimately have to adopt the system.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton, addressing the committee on behalf of residents, said it was important their concerns were fully addressed.

He claimed that during the August floods last year the site was “deep in water, millimetres from flowing into The Beeches”, which, he said, had been flooded in 1999 and 2011.

The DUP MLA praised Braidwater for listening to residents and said he believed “an additional pipe across the Glenshane would resolve the issues”.

Having listened to both cases members of the committee said they felt they needed further information from the statutory agencies before making a decision and agreed to defer until after a predetermination hearing.

In a statement Braidwater said it was “extremely disappointed and frustrated” at the decision to put back the decision.

“We fully understand and appreciate due process and look forward to reviewing the relevant elements with the various stakeholders,” it said.

“However, a speedy resolution is required on this matter to ensure any loss of economic investment and potential job losses are avoided.

“We would ask for local elected representatives and the council to show leadership and move the process forward quickly and approve the project without delay.”