By Alan Healy

Japanese Knotweed has been discovered at the site of a new social housing development in Derry.

Japanese Knotweed is a highly damaging invasive plant species that spreads rapidly and can damage a building’s foundations if left untreated.

In July of last year, councillors on Derry City and Strabane District Council issued approval for 53 new homes for a site close to Sheriffs Glen on Springtown Road, which will be constructed by Kevin Watson Construction Limited on behalf of Apex Housing.

The new homes were approved by councillors despite council’s own planning officers recommending the application be refused.

Planning officers had recommended the refusal over concerns that the new housing development will be located outside the city limits and may encroach on the surrounding countryside.

The council’s head planning officer recently warned councillors over issuing approvals for social housing outside of the city’s development limits.

It’s now emerged that permission is being sought by the applicant to treat Japanese knotweed at the site.

The application proposes that minor amendments are made to the to southern boundary at the site to ‘facilitate the treatment of Japanese knotweed’.

The issue of Japanese knotweed has plagued a number of other sites in the city, most recently the Fort George where work has been undertaken to eradicate the plant ahead of

The application has now been lodged with the local planning authority, Derry City and Strabane District Council, and will come before a future meeting of its planning committee.

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