Brandywell flats complex approved despite objections

The 53 flats complex has been approved.
The 53 flats complex has been approved.

Plans for three blocks of apartments in the Brandywell area have been approved despite dozens of objections from local residents.

Planners announced their recommendation the application for 53 apartments be approved at Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Planning Committee, sitting in Strabane on Wednesday.

The proposal is to construct the three, four, and five storey development at the Longs Farm Shop (a former filling station) site at Letterkenny Road.

A planning officer told the committee that they had previously voted to approve the project in May subject to the address of the project being confirmed. Prior to that 17 objections had been received, but a further 26 objections and two petitions were delivered to Planners since regarding the development.

The officer said the concerns centred on a range of issues, including the potential for anti-social behaviour.

She added that Transport NI were satisfied with the parking arrangements, and that any noise generated would come under Environmental Health legislation.

She added that it while “the loss of a local shop may be unfortunate, this is a private business to close it is beyond the remit of planners.”

“It is considered that the development will positively contribute to the regeneration of the area,” she said.

Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell, speaking on behalf of residents who objected to the development, including people living in Old City Court, Glenanne, Glendara and Coshowen, said there were numerous concerns over the project.

Colr. Campbell said that the development was “completely out of character” for the area.

“It is important to realise that the Letterkenny Road running into Foyle Road is a main arterial route and this development in the building stage will cause major problems. We’re talking about the guts of a year here.

“This road has seen a number of accidents over the years. It is a very, very busy arterial route.”

Colr. Campbell also said the development was “out of sync” with the Foyle Valley Gateway plans for the area.

He added that residents were very concerned over the potential for anti-social behaviour and that there was no detail as to the nature of the homes, and whether they would be buy-to-let.

SDLP Councillor Tina Gardiner however said that “it doesn’t make sense” to reject the proposal, as the Council recently overturned a planners’ recommendation against housing because of the need in the city.

Her colleague Gus Hastings said he too was very aware that the council had been fighting hard for more homes.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan proposed the housing be approved, seconded by Colr. Gardiner, and unanimously backed by the committee.