07/08/2012

Derry Council 'Dragging Heels' On Independent Traders' Ideas

Northern Irish traders have accused Derry City Council of "dragging its heels" in responding to a plan for regenerating the city centre.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Traders Association (NIIRTA) presented the plan to the council in April.

It includes proposals to relax planning regulations, give rates holidays to businesses and launch a major 'shop independent' campaign.

NIIRTA chief Glyn Roberts said that months after the presentation his organisation has had no response from the council.

He told the Belfast Telegraph he would seek a second meeting with council chief executive Sharon O'Connor, and emphasised that the plan had "received great support" from city councillors.

He said: "Derry City Council is in such a strong position to help independent traders who operate in the city centre where they face great disadvantages over the out-of-town developments, however the council appears to be dragging its heels responding.

"People often complain about a situation but have nothing concrete to offer, but this is not the case with the independent traders. Rather than just say to outside bodies such as Stormont and Derry City Council 'help us', we have actually come up with what we feel is the solution to a very large part of the problem."

A spokeswoman for Derry City Council indicated that the plan was welcome and said: "Council continues to work with key strategic partners... in progressing the matters raised."

(NE)

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