Derry WII hangar listing ‘may hamper development’

Hangars from World War 2.
Hangars from World War 2.

Concerns have been raised that a proposal to list three Second World War aircraft hangars in Derry may hamper future development near the city’s airport.

Sinn Fein Councillor Patricia Logue queried the implications of the suggested listings, which were among several in Derry recently announced by the Department for the Environment’s Historic Buildings Unit.

The DoE has now asked for the council’s views on the listings, and a report brought before this week’s meeting of the council’s Planning Committee recommending they support the listings.

The ‘blister type’ hangars are located close to Airfield Road and near City of Derry Airport. They were used as part of an RAF base on the site, which opened in 1941 during the war, and were used to accommodate Spitfire type planes.

However Colr. Logue questioned whether the hangars were being used and called for detailed reports on them to be brought before the committee.

She said: “If something is listed you have difficulty then in getting permissions for the area. I am afraid it might hamper future development given that we are developing the new Local Area Plan.”

She also argued that there might be “no tourism benefit to be got from hanging on to these hangars”.

SDLP Councillor Gus Hastings said that he was aware that the hangars had recently been in use for private aircraft.

“At the end of the day they are something that is a throwback to the war, they are there a long time and that is the significance of them,” he added.

A council officer said that “for a certain section of the population this would be very interesting”.

DUP Councillor Thomas Kerrigan said that the area would likely be of interest to tourists given that a lot of events unfolded there during the war years, adding that the listing would help enhance the tourist offering locally.

A detailed report is to be brought back to the committee on the hangars.