Tesco store finally set for approval

Plans to build a Tesco store on Derry’s Buncrana Road could finally be given the green light as early as next month, the ‘Journal’ understands.

Councillors will vote on the proposed store at a meeting on March 6. It is understood that should they vote in favour, planners will finally rubber stamp the plans for the much vaunted store. Plans for the store at Buncrana Road were first mooted way back in 2008.

Sinn Fein councillor Tony Hassan says the Buncrana Road store would “be more good news” for the city, should councillors give the plans the go ahead.

“After this week’s announcements about the A5 and Altnagelvin this is more good news for Derry. There are a further raft of planning applications in the system that should also be brought forward,” he says.

Last year the DOE turned down the latest planning application.

Yesterday, Environment Minister Alex Attwood was accused of performing a u-turn and approving plans for the store by the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIRTA). NIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “Derry City Centre is already struggling with a large number of shop vacancies as a result of out of town retail development and this decision is a hammer blow against efforts to regenerate the City Centre.”

But a Department of Environment spokesman told the ‘Journal’ the planned store had not yet been given final approval.

“This scheme has not been approved and a final decision will not be taken until the statutory process has been completed, including consultation with Derry City Council.

“DOE Planning is currently considering nine planning applications in Derry which involve a major retail element as part of the proposals,” he said.