Transport NI opposes factory proposals

The former Sinclair Factory at Abercorn Road/Wapping Lane. 2001JM64
The former Sinclair Factory at Abercorn Road/Wapping Lane. 2001JM64

Transport NI says it has major concerns about a proposal to turn the old Sinclair Factory at the corner of Wapping Lane and Abercorn Road into flats and is recommending an application be refused.

A case officer with Roads Service’s successor body listed a range of concerns relating to traffic, parking and pedestrian safety.

In a letter lodged with the planning service on December 16, the officer stated: “The proposal is in close proximity to Carlisle Roundabout which is a major junction and is key to traffic movements within the City, approval of the proposed new build would lead to difficulties at this major junction.

“Transportni acknowledge the listed status of the existing factory and whilst not ideal would be prepared to accept the proposal for 52 apartments within the existing building. The open space to the rear of the existing building should be retained for parking and servicing associated with the development of the listed factory building.

“Given the existing constraints of the site and the impact that the proposed development would have on strategic traffic movements and vehicle/ pedestrian safety Transportni would not recommend approval to the proposed development.

“The proposed new build at the rear of the site is an over intensification of use of the site and should be removed, if this is not the case Transportni will issue refusal reasons for this application.”

Meanwhile, a local flute band has also come out in opposition to the development.

In a statement the William King Memorial Flute Band (WKMFB) said: “The WKMFB assisted by the Londonderry Bands Forum held the initial meetings which resulted in the formation of the Fountain Forum and offer our full support and backing to the community in their efforts to curtail the development of the Factory Site in Wapping Lane.”

The band says it wants the factory to be developed in such a way that encourages tourists and visitors to travel to the Cathedral Quarter and the city centre via the Fountain area.

“Our vision of a redeveloped Wapping Lane with family dwellings and an ambience in keeping with London Street or other entrances to the city like those coming out of the Bogside, we feel would enhance and encourage tourists coming out of the new proposed hotel complex on the Tillie’s site, to enter the Cathedral Quarter through the Fountain area,” the statement read.

Residents are expected to object in numbers to a proposal to develop the flats complex after meetings last week with the planning advisory group that advised the Casement Park residents. See Page 19 for more on this story.