SDLP Waterside Councillor Martin Reilly has welcomed the submission of a planning application for a major new housing development in the Clooney Road area, which could have implications for the upgrade of a new traffic management system at the Caw Roundabout.
Mr Reilly made the comments after one of the largest private residential investments in the North West was submitted to Derry City and Strabane District Council for approval.
The £100m investment by South Bank Square Ltd. proposes a 800 home neighbourhood development at Ballyoan adjacent to Crescent Link and Clooney Road. The residential scheme will create employment for approximately 90 full-time construction jobs each year, for the next 10 years, and the developer is calling on city planners to make a swift decision.
Councillor Reilly has been in regular contact with the developers of the new housing development and Transport NI.
He also launched an online petition last year – signed by 1,000 people – which called for a much-needed upgrade of the Caw Roundabout following safety concerns that has seen more than 50 casualties over the past three years.
He said: “I welcome the submission of this planning application at Caw Roundabout which affords an opportunity to provide a solution which addresses both the current issues at the roundabout but also allows planning for future developments along this key strategic route for the city and wider North West.
“For many years I have been highlighting the problems posed by the current roundabout and with future potential developments such as these new houses, the relocation of Foyle College, government jobs being located in Ballykelly and the long-awaited dualling of the A6 between Derry and Dungiven, I sincerely hope that a comprehensive traffic management system can be introduced to deal with all these pressures.
“Indeed, while the access concerns at the Caw Roundabout obviously affect people in the immediate area on a daily basis, this strategic roundabout is also used by motorists across the city and wider North West – and many have registered with me and Transport NI their safety concerns at the current arrangements.
“I hope that through partnership between the developer and Transport NI this major problem for our city can be addressed once and for all.”
South Bank Square Managing Director, Seamus Gillan said: “This is an exciting urban development that will deliver quality family homes in a neighbourhood environment that will include community, retail and business facilities, as well as new local play areas and public space. We are very pleased to have received extremely constructive and positive feedback in consultation with local residents, and potential home-owners.”
“From our consultation with the community we know the importance of addressing traffic issues at this junction, in a manner that will support new homes for the area. Traffic and the roundabout is something we have raised with council and Transport NI during pre-application discussion and have prepared an application that responds to these issues.
“We are not responsible for the existing defects in the road system. However, through collaboration with Transport NI we hope our application for new homes could contribute to a solution.”
Speaking following the submission of the application Brian Kelly, Director of Turley, lead planner for South Bank Square, urged the city’s planners and councillors to come to a quick decision, and highlighted an increasing demand for quality homes:
“In recent years there has been a falling back in developers able to deliver the scale of investment, and few that will deliver the quality neighbourhood development we are proposing. The proposals at Ballyoan will deliver standout urban design that addresses how people want to live today and in the future.”
“Recent statistics suggest that completions in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area have been slower than elsewhere in Northern Ireland. Our proposed neighbourhood could assist in meeting the demand for family homes, single households and older people. It is therefore important that planners process this application quickly to ensure this demand is met.”