Residents and community groups have handed over a petition calling for a planned £10m housing and community project for the Glen area to be started as soon as possible.
The residents and workers, backed by Foyle Sinn Féin MLA and former manager of Glen Development Initiative (GDI), Maeve McLaughlin, presented the petition to planning officials at Orchard House in Derry city centre yesterday morning.
More than 420 signatures have been gathered from local people in support of the plans.
Speaking at Orchard House, local resident Aisling Norby said: “For me housing is much needed for the area, as it has been under-developed for years and the same goes for a community centre. I think it would help regenerate the area and be a central point for people to come - a new centre will always do that- and bring in new families.”
Gerry MacLochlainn, manager of the Glen Development Initiative said support for the project was overwhelming.
He said: “This is going to be first major bit of infrastructure for this area and it is long overdue. We know the shortcomings in housing, and this is a significant contribution, 79 houses going in there, nine of them are going to be designed specially for people with complex needs and we know of at least one family that have been waiting seven years to get a house appropriate for their young child.”
Dermot O’Hara, GDI chairman: “This will be the first time in a long while that there has been new housing in the Glen. It means that people who were reared in the Glen will have an opportunity to return to live in the area through a social housing programme.”
Ms McLaughlin meanwhile said: “This was a project I was directly involved in through my previous post as GDI manager. The hundreds of people who have now signed this petition in support of this project is a testament that the area needs investment and this is a major opportunity to not only provide housing but a really, really valuable community infrastructure as well which will directly provide service for our young people.”
Earlier this month Council officers were given the go-ahead to try to progress the land transfer needed to accommodate the development.
The move was agreed after assurances were given that those with concerns about the proposals at the former greenbelt site would get a chance to have their views heard.