Plans for a new learning disability centre beside the Foyle Valley Railway Museum (FVRM) have been approved by Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Planning Committee despite concerns over the proximity of a proposed entrance to the Craigavon Bridge.
At a special meeting to deal with applications requiring urgent decisions due to the looming end of the funding year, members were unanimously supportive of Destined proposals.
The charity is building the new centre directly on the Foyle Road, immediately to the right of the currenty used entrance at the southwestern end of the museum building. A new café, play area, and extra parking provision are also proposed.
Sinn Féin councillor Patricia Logue said she hoped the new centre would help address the “shortage of provision for people with learning disabilities that exists in the whole of the council area”.
Her sentiments were echoed across the committee although concerns were raised about plans to move the main entrance from the current DC&SDC car park to the northwestern end of the FVRM nearer the Foyle Road pumping station. Several councillors feared traffic moving from the Craigavon Bridge could be backed up as a result.
Maura Fox, head of planning at the Council, however, advised that the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) had raised no objections to the position of what is an existing entrance onto the Foyle Road. The meeting also heard how the Foyle Road/Craigavon Bridge intersection was a signalled junction, which has a slowing effect on traffic.
Equally, it was ascertained that the Foyle Road Car Park beside the museum remained in council ownership and it was suggested this might facilitate a solution to any roads issues should they arise in future. Given the strong support for the project and the urgent need for a decision, the committee appproved the application.