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Traders fears up to 300 jobs could be at risk in businesses along Derry's Buncrana Road

Shopowners say current proposals do not take into account their requirements

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The plans involve a major upgrade of Buncrana Road in Derry.

Shop traders along Derry's Buncrana Road claim that up 300 jobs could be at risk because of current development plans for the area.

The Department of Infrastructure has put forward major plans to upgrade the road system in the area.

However, shopowners along Buncrana Road say the plans are not adequate in relation to access to their businesses.

Retail NI, which represents many of the shopowners, today warned that 300 jobs are at risk from local businesses unless changes are made to the proposed redevelopment plan to facilitate customers getting access to local small retailers and businesses.

Traders fear current upgrade plans to the road will restrict passing trade to local businesses.

To avoid this, Retail NI submitted a number of changes to the redevelopment plan - all of which, the lobby organisation claimed, were rejected by Department for Infrastructure officials.

Retail NI is today meeting with Colum Eastwood MP, Martina Anderson MLA, Gary Middleton MLA and the President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce to outline their concerns.

Buncrana Road Trader and Retail NI Board member David Barber said: “We have submitted sensible and practical changes to the proposed redevelopment plan to facilitate our customers and passing trade being able to access the shops on Buncrana Road. Sadly, all were rejected by the Department for Infrastructure.

“If customers can’t gain easy access to our stores, then we will lose this trade which will sadly result in store closures, up to 300 job losses and a net loss of £2million to the local economy.

“We urge the Infrastructure Minister to intervene and ensure changes are made to the redevelopment plan to avoid these job losses."

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “With the huge hit to the economy with Covid-19, every job is vital, and we urge the Minister to listen to our concerns and make the necessary changes to this plan and protect these livelihoods and small businesses.

“Retail NI supports the overall plan to upgrade the Buncrana Road as it is a vital investment in the infrastructure of Derry, the North West and the Derry-Strabane City Deal. However, no business should have to close, nor jobs lost as a result of this redevelopment.

Redmond McFadden, President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce said it was 'crucial' to sort out the issues at Buncrana Road.

"The prospect of the loss of so many jobs and businesses in our city has to avoided at all costs and we hope that the Minister will act accordingly," he said.

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