Flood risk one concern over Strabane plans

THE potential for flooding from the rivers Foyle, Finn and Mourne and for negative impact on the town centre need to be considered before a recommendation can be made on a proposed supermarket, wildlife centre and hotel in Strabane.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said the implications of the Three Rivers scheme on the A5 Londonderry to Aughnacloy road project also need to be considered.

He stated: “There are a number of planning issues to be considered before a recommendation can be made on the proposals including the principle of development (the site lies outside the Strabane settlement limit), the retail impact from the proposed foodstore on Strabane town centre and the surrounding area, traffic and transport impacts (including potential implications for the future upgrade of the A5), flood risk (the site lies within the floodplains of the Mourne, Finn and Foyle rivers) and the ecological impacts.”

The plans - if they were to get the go ahead - would see a supermarket, employment park, leisure centre, wildlife centre and hotel developed in Strabane.

Mr Attwood said an Addendum to an Environmental Statement for the scheme was received on June 29, 2012 and a reconsultation, re-advertisement and re-neighbour notification procedure carried out in accordance with the EIA Regulations.

Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council were also “re-consulted due to the transboundary nature of the application.”

Mr Attwood said: “Strabane District Council provided a corporate response on October 9, 2012, which indicated qualified support for the proposal subject to a number of planning conditions which included the completion of Phase 1 of the overall development, within clearly defined timescales and in advance of the commercial retail section.

“Donegal County Council has yet to provide a corporate response. A meeting was arranged for Friday, November 23, 2012 between the Council and Planning to discuss the proposal.

“The Department is therefore not yet in a position to make a determination as the fundamental issues relating to the principle of development and the recently submitted consultation responses still have to be considered fully.”