Transport NI received Home Bargains assessment on November 4

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Transport NI says a transport assessment for TJ Morris’ proposed new Home Bargains store at the old Budget DIY site was only received on November 4 and is currently under review.

A TransportNI spokesperson said: “TransportNI has worked closely with Council Planners in progressing the application since its receipt in May 2015.

“It was agreed at the early stages that a transport assessment (TA) was required to assess the traffic impact of the proposed development. The TA was received by the Department on November 4, 2015 and is currently under review.

“A transport assessment is necessary in applications such as this to ensure that the traffic impact is accurately assessed and addressed.

“As is the case in the new planning statutory process, 21 days are allowed for response on information consulted by Council Planning. As a specialist report, transport assessments usually take in excess of 21 days so an extension of time was requested.”

The spokesperson said: “If the transport assessment is deemed adequate by TransportNI, the review process will conclude within a shorter timeframe than the extension requested.”

TJ Morris has expressed frustration over red tape it says is holding up a £6million investment that will see the 100 new jobs created and the long disused Budget DIY site on the Strand Road back into use.

Representatives from the company, which trades as Home Bargains, have written to the chief executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Kelpie, to complain that it is paying out tens of thousands of pounds in rates but it still unable to trade because a transport assessment has yet to be evaluated.