Hay call for green light
DUP MLA William Hay has urged Environment Minister Alex Attwood to rubberstamp two massive jobs-boosting planning applications with the potential of totally transforming the Waterside when he comes back from his holidays at the end of July.
Mr Hay said he was hopeful the Minister would see the transformative economic potential of both the Orana Group’s massive mixed use development adjacent to Lisneal College and ASDA’s planned new £12m superstore at the Crescent Link Retail Park.
The local MLA urged the Minister to approve the plans which he says will create hundreds and hundreds of jobs for the city and stem the flight of consumer spending to other towns like Strabane and Coleraine.
“The Minister is expected to make a major decision on a number of key planning applications for the city,” said Mr Hay. “What I would say is that the plans for Crescent Link, both the mixed use development and ASDA, will create thousands of jobs for the city and they have the overwhelming support of the people of the Waterside.”
Mr Hay said he hoped the Minister would see the value of the two applications in terms of jobs creation and the wider economic regeneration of the city.
“Let’s be blunt about it, these are people who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is,” said Mr Hay. “I would encourage the Minister to make the right decision and get these projects over the line now.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity and if we don’t take it now we may not get another chance to develop this part of the Crescent Link again particularly with the current economic climate.”
Mr Attwood faces a number of huge decisions when he arrives back from his summer holidays on July 28.
The Minister recently promised he would announce his decisions on seven outstanding major retail applications in Londonderry upon his return.
Top of the list of priorities as far as residents of the Waterside are concerned will be John Farmer’s groundbreaking proposal for a huge mixed use development that will include a Sainsbury’s superstore, Premier Inn Hotel and cinema.
Mr Farmer, the chairman of the Orana Group, which is behind the plans, also wants to build a signature office building, high spec digital offices, a point of presence building, a healthcare business and live/work units for workers on the complex.
Planning approval has already been granted for the Premier Inn Hotel which is expected to open by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, retail giant ASDA says its proposed new store at Crescent Link will keep shoppers, jobs and money in the city at a time when Londonderry’s unemployment rate of over eight per cent remains the highest in Northern Ireland.
ASDA says a recent independent poll by local polling company LucidTalk Ltd showed almost one third of local people currently shop at ASDA stores outside the city.
The new store in Crescent Link Retail Park will create up to 350 new full and part time badly needed jobs for local people and bring great value, low prices and consumer choice to the residents of the city.
In March Mr Attwood approved plans for a £40m new Tesco store at Lisnagelvin - potentially creating 120/130 jobs.
Tesco want to knock down their existing store at the Altnagelvin roundabout and replace it with a new state-of-the-art building.
But Mr Attwood must now decide whether to approve new ASDA and Sainsbury’s stores just up the road.
Speaking about outstanding major applications earlier this year the Minister said: “I have asked officials to carefully consider each case and bring forward recommendations based on analysis of the capacity of the town or city in question to accommodate further retail floor space without adverse impact on the main shopping centre – this includes Derry and Magherafelt.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Thursday 23 May 2013
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