A Derry business has been told it can no longer display its vehicles on a site off Buncrana Road because of plans to widen the carriageway.
Vogue Car Sales had applied to retain an extension of a car parking facility for the display of cars for sale, beside units 1B - 5B Ballinska Business Park in Springtown.
Planners, however, this week recommended to Derry City & Strabane District Council that the application be turned down.
A planning officer told the committee that this was a retrospective application concerning a grass verge site adjacent to Ballinska Business Park and the Buncrana Road.
She said the site has been cleared, fenced and gravelled, and is currently operating as a car sales area for Vogue Car Sales, whose main premises is located to the rear of this area.
The committee was told that Transport NI had recommended refusal of the application, as the use of the land could “prejudice the delivery of a current road improvement scheme”.
It was confirmed at the meeting that the proposal was in “direct conflict” with plans for the A2 Buncrana Road widening scheme “as it is located on the verge which will be used to provide additional traffic lanes/footways”.
There had been no letters of objection or support received, she added.
While various other agencies consulted had no objections to the application, the Rivers Agency had said it required a 10m working strip to access culverts under the site, due to a water course running underneath the site, with the potential for flooding.
The officer’s report adds: “The site juts out and extends beyond the established curtilage of the Business Park into a grassed area adjacent the public footpath. In terms of layout it is, therefore, not acceptable and conflicts with the established layout of the Business Park.”
SDLP Councillor John Boyle said that he was not against business development, but in this case agreed with the recommendation.
“I think approval could certainly create an impediment to the future development of Buncrana Road,” he said.
“It is very well documented that the Buncrana Road Widening Scheme is extremely important to future economic development and this is a cross-border corridor,” Colr. Boyle added. “I am proposing that we accept the officer’s recommendation on this particular occasion.”
SDLP Councillor Tina Gardiner seconded her party colleague’s proposal.
Colr. Gardiner said that the Buncrana Road route was “a gateway location into the city” adding that there may be lessons to be learned from examples in Letterkenny and elsewhere whereby landscaping has been undertaken at the entrance to industrial estates.
Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson also concurred with the officer’s recommendation to refuse planning permission.
Colr. Jackson welcomed the weight being given to the plans to upgrade the Buncrana Road.
”It shows the significance Transport NI have placed on that particular road and the issues we are facing. I am happy to support the recommendation,” he said.