‘Short delay’ in retail planning decisions

Planning minister Alex Attwood says there will be a short delay of a few weeks before he announces decisions on a number of major retail applications for the city.

Mr. Attwood has confirmed to the ‘Journal’ that, in relation to the Derry retail applications, there are seven yet to be decided.

He added: “I had planned to be in Derry tomorrow (Friday) to announce the outcome but there has been a short delay due to the number of decisions, retail impact assessments and other factors.

“I am advised that the Derry applications will be presented to me on or immediately after my return from holidays on July 28. I am sure people and retailers in Derry will appreciate that there can be good reasons for delay and in this case a short one.

“It is my plan to go to Derry to confirm the outcome of the planning process, place my planning decisions in the context of the development of the city and the needs of the citizens and city centre retailers. It is important that, in recognising the importance that out of town/edge of town retail decisions have to Derry and other locations, the prescription for the growth of town and city centres has a range of elements, beyond Article 31 planning decisions.

“That said, I have made it clear I shall be bringing forward in the future new proposals to reconfigure retail provision and to better acknowledge in town needs. I hope Derry people will appreciate that a short delay of a few weeks is required to ensure I get the decisions right.”

Local Sinn Fein councillor Tony Hasson this week urged Mr. Attwood to reveal what planning applications he is going to approve in the City Council area.

He said: “There is a clear need for the Minister to ensure these outstanding applications are either approved or rejected. As least then then applicants will know once and for all what the outcomes are.”