Final decision on Arntz site plans delayed

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)

A decision on whether to grant full planning permission for a massive new supermarket and health care complex at the former Arntz Belting Co. site in Derry has been delayed.

Derry City & Strabane District Council had been due to deliberate and vote on the proposals for the 5.83 hectares Pennyburn site, but it emerged at the meeting that an objection submitted to the plans, had not been forwarded on to a consultee.

The application was scheduled to come before the committee’s monthly meeting on Wednesday with a reocmmendation to approve but councillors were told shortly after it got under way that it had to be withdrawn. It emerged that the objections by one objector hadn’t been forwarded to the Rivers Agency to give them a chance to respond and having sought legal advice it had been recommended to remove the application from the schedule.

Arntz Belting Co. Limited is planning to construct a Medical Building with car parking; a large retail superstore, restaurant and self service filling station. It is understood the development, if approved, would create over 300 new jobs, and hundreds more construction jobs.

Sinn Fein Colr. Patricia Logue asked whether it was normal practice to consult other agencies on an objection such as this. Head of Planning, Maura Fox, said that if an objection does not raise technical issues then it would be dealt with by the Planning Department, but if there were technical issues requiring expert advice it had to be sent to the required agencies.

“Given the nature of this application, I think this should be speeded up as a matter of urgency,” Colr. Logue responded.

SDLP Colr. Gus Hastings said: “I thought all the consultation with the Rivers Agency was done. Obviously that wasn’t the case.” Colr. Hastings also queried whether the planners could accept new information, but was told that this objection had actually been submitted during the consultation period and that they were obliged to consider it.

The application is now expected to be considered at a later date.