Sinn Féin councillor Barney O’Hagan has welcomed moves to safeguard the future of the Springtown District Shopping Centre.
Colr. O’Hagan said a recommendation by planning officials to approve a change of use application for the centre to allow it to change the type of goods it sells will give security to the staff at the store.
Speaking ahead of the monthly meeting of Derry City Council’s planning committee, which will be held in the Guildhall this afternoon, Colr. O’Hagan said: “The decision protects the future viability of the District Centre and gives security to the current employees. Approval will also ensure further employment opportunities.”
The Sinn Féin Colr. also said the decision would help attract cross border trade.
Col. O’Hagan said a retail strategy published last year to assist planners showed that many shoppers regularly cross the border to shop in the city.
The Northland colr. also said, despite the publication of the strategy, which was designed to help planners, there is still a major backlog in the application system.
“In August 2012, the Minister for the Environment published the findings of a retail study in relation to Derry. The purpose of the Derry Retail Study was to provide a comprehensive analysis of current patterns in the City’s retail catchment.
“The document was designed to inform the decision making process and provide a consistent and up to date analysis against which relevant applications within the study area could be properly addressed.
“More than a year since publication of the Retail Study there is still a current backlog of applications, some in the system for almost 10 years”.
“Mr. Simon Kirk, Director of Strategic Planning, will be in attendance at today’s Planning meeting to update Councillors on all current Article 31 applications in the Derry City Council area,” he said.
Colr. O’Hagan said some of the outstanding applications currently in the system include plans for a Tesco foodstore at Buncrana Road, a major multi-use regeneration project at Drumahoe, and a retail park at Crescent Link.