Culmore councillors exasperated over Thornhill village hold up

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Councillors for the Culmore area have expressed exasperation after it emerged a proposal to develop a retirement village on the old Thornhill College site are being held up due to concerns over road access.

Plans to develop a 65 bed care home along with 68 semi-independent bungalows at the former convent have been stymied due to Transport NI having concerns about access off the arterial Culmore Road, according to Councillors Tony Hassan and Angela Dobbins, who raised the matter at Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday.

Colr. Hassan, who asked that the matter be brought out of confidential business, said: “Currently there are proposals for the redevelopment of this massive site including to convert it into a retirement village and riverside walkways and other facilities.

“Under the newly released Strategic Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane 2017-2032 it predicts the over 65 population in the district will increase by 66 per cent in that period. We are actively working to ensure our elderly are catered for in terms of suitable accommodation and care.

“We need to be proactive in turning this site into something positive not only for the people of Culmore but indeed the wider city.”

Colr. Hassan said the site has been plagued by vandalism over recent years and suggested that Transport NI would be unlikely to have any traffic issues if the school was still operational.

Colr. Dobbins concurred with Colr. Hassan and said hundreds of people have already expressed interest in the village since the plans were first lodged in 2015.