The owner of a busy retail complex this week raised concerns about the Department for Infrastructure’s plans to widen the A2 Buncrana Road.
David Barber, director of Whitehouse Retail Ltd., which operates the Whitehouse Retail Park close to the northwestern end of the A2, is worried the road project will restrict access to his business.
Mr. Barber, who is a board member of Retail NI, was among a delegation of traders, including Connor Fitzgerald, representing the Centra franchise a few hundred metres away on the other side of the road, who met local political representatives this week to discuss their proposals for improving access to their stores.
He said: “This was a useful engagement with the political representatives. We appreciate their support. We have concerns with the proposed upgrade plan as it will restrict customer access to my business, the many other businesses on our site and our colleagues in the Centra store, the Post Office and other traders across the road.
“Over 200 people are employed between our two businesses and we need to ensure that the upgraded road will support the future growth of traders in the area. We have outlined some practical changes to the plans, which would include an additional roundabout and look forward to further engagement.”
Retail NI has already met with officials from Department for Infrastructure in the last few weeks to outline their concerns with the plans.
Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “Retail NI supports the overall plan to upgrade the Buncrana Road. It will be a vital investment in the infrastructure of Derry, the North West and support the Derry-Strabane ‘City Deal.’
“However, the upgrade has to also work for local traders and ensure that their businesses can grow. We believe our proposals are a win-win for the overall project and local traders.”
A departmental spokesperson said: “The proposed road improvement scheme on the A2 Buncrana Road will greatly reduce congestion on this important strategic arterial route connecting Londonderry to Co Donegal.and which also serves the western suburbs of the city.
"DfI has been consulting widely on the scheme and also held another public information day on March 26 where feedback was invited on the emerging design.
"DfI will continue to engage with the public, landowners, businesses and other interested parties over the coming months to develop the design detail with a view to commencing the statutory consultation process.”