Decision expected on plans for Arntz site

The Arntz Belting factory site at Pennyburn which has been earmarked for a major redevelopment. (1611MM7)
The Arntz Belting factory site at Pennyburn which has been earmarked for a major redevelopment. (1611MM7)

Derry & Strabane’s Planning Committee is expected to make a decision tomorrow on whether to give the green light for the redevelopment of the 14-acre Arntz site, which could bring around 300 jobs to Derry.

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the fact that a report and recommendation on the ambitious Pennyburn development proposals will be delivered by Planners at the Committee meeting tomorrow afternoon.

A new medical building, food superstore, restaurant and filling station are among the key proposals, along with new access routes and road redevelopment. If given the go-ahead, it is believed the new facilities could create around 300 new jobs.

Councillor Cooper said: “We have been in discussions with the developers involved in this proposal for almost two years to ensure that the proposals to develop what is currently a vacant site would bring economic and social benefit to the local community whilst ensuring that there would be no major impact in terms of additional traffic.

“The extensive work which we have been involved in between the developers, planning office and council mean that the current proposals include a medical building with car parking in a semi-basement, superstore, restaurant, self-service filling station, servicing and landscaping.

“It also includes provision for works at Pennyburn roundabout and junctions on Buncrana Road and Pennyburn Pass to ensure traffic flow is improved in the area around the site.

“Taken in its entirety, the project is estimated to create around 300 jobs whilst at the same time creating a primary healthcare facility which will provide west bank residents with a range of medical services within a single modern facility. This, in particular, will be of key benefit to local residents and the wider community.

“I look forward to the planning committee’s decision and hopefully the regeneration of a site which has lain unused for many years.”

Arntz Belting Company, which made timing belts for vehicles and machinery, ceased operations back in 2010 with the loss of 115 jobs.

The 14-acre site stretches from Pennyburn Pass to Pennyburn Industrial Estate and has been vacant since the closure.

It is understood the medical building proposed will work as part of the regional National Health Service, and will include GPs, occupational therapists and physiotherapists as well as home-help staff, with over 100 based on site.