Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland roads to close for Derry Girls filming despite business objections

By Michael Sheils McNamee

One of Londonderry's main streets is to be closed for the filming of hit Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls despite objections from business owners objecting.

There will be a temporary road closure on Abercorn Road on November 14, and Shipquay Street and Shipquay Place - one of the main thoroughfares in the city - on November 15 and 16.

The first series of Derry Girls was broadcast earlier this year, drawing millions of viewers, widespread acclaim and a string of awards. Filming is ongoing for the second series and the cast and crew have been working on location in Belfast and Ballymena.

After the initial application for the closures was made a number of traders objected. Eight traders from the Shipquay Street/ Shipquay Place area signed a letter stating their concerns to the council.

In the letter, the traders - whose names are not listed - said: "We are already in extremely difficult trading conditions and this would be an unreasonable burden at any time and more so at the start of the Christmas trading.

"... this is because we believe that the decision to close Shipquay Street, a main shopping area for the town, during trading hours, is unreasonable and the council is acting Ultra Vires [a Latin expression meaning 'beyond one's legal power'] in making this decision."

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Derry and Strabane District Council confirmed the closures would be approved after being discussed at a special meeting of the council's Health and Communities Committee on Thursday.

DUP Alderman Hillary McClintock, who was present at the meeting, said while the concerns of traders should be listened to, it was a case that "the benefits outweighed the difficulties".

"We feel that on balance, we do very much take the concerns of the traders into account, they are going to benefit from the increased footfall in the area," she said.

Mrs McClintock said measures would be taken to ensure public transport was operational during filming, and information was available to the public about any changes to services.

SDLP councillor Brian Tierney, who seconded the motion to allow for the road closures, added: "I think everyone can see the benefits that other parts of the north have with having productions filmed in their locations. This message sends out a message to production companies across the world that Derry and Strabane is open for this kind of business."

A spokesperson for Channel 4 said: "The production team have worked closely with the local council to secure all necessary approvals required for filming the series and have endeavoured to ensure that the production causes as little inconvenience as possible for local residents and traders.

"Production and Channel 4 are very grateful for all the help and support received so far on the new series."

To facilitate filming a temporary stop-and-go system will be in place on Abercorn Road/Junction with Lower Bennett Street on 14 November between 5 and 7pm, with a full road closure on Shipquay Street from 9.15 am to 16.00 pm on Thursday 15 November, and a temporary stop-and-go traffic system that will operate from 08.30 am to 5.00pm on Friday 16 November.

After the passing of new legislation last year, Derry and Strabane District Council have the power to restrict access to public roads for purposes of holding 'special events'.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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