Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Border housing scheme could swell population by 25,000

A mammoth proposed housing scheme close to the Londonderry-Donegal border could swell the local population by up to 25,000, it has been claimed.

Under a planning application by Covergold Ltd, thousands of new homes will eventually be erected at the development on Buncrana Road.

There will also be primary schools, shops and community facilities.

Massive roadworks at Skeoge will take place to accommodate the increase in traffic. New land has now been handed over as part of the expansion.

In the town clerk's report to Derry City Council's Development Committee, it was revealed that the city secretary and solicitor and key officers within the development department and city engineer's department were working to complete the arrangements for the transfer a 0.95-hectare portion of land earmarked for "play provision".

The provisions of the planning policy will require that 15% of all the lands in the development area shall be green or open space that will include play and wider parkland development.

Deputy chief executive John Meehan said the development would have a " major impact on the way council conducts its business and will be the biggest planning decision that this council will ever have to make, bearing in ming the potential population change".

SDLP councillor Gerard Diver sai: "The development has the potential to have 20,000 to 25,000 extra people.

"I've heard that it could be the same size as Limavady."

Councillors have agreed to discuss the proposed development at a special meeting next year.

At the same meeting, it was revealed that a significant rural tourism development initiative would link the Ness and Ervey Wood sites through a portion of adjoining land on the outskirts of the city.

The Sperrins Gateway project will consist of an access road and car parking facilities at the new central development pathway adjacent to the Burntollet river, so-called orientation and interpretative signage, and construction of a visitor centre and ranger's cottage.

Funding of £225,000 has been approved in principle for the implementation of the project under the Faughan Area Based Programme, administered by the Research and Policy in Development programme (Rapid).

It is anticipated that the works will commence in spring next year.

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