£100m development at former Derry factory site receives planning green light

A computer-generated image of the new £100m development in Derry
Gareth McKeown

A MAJOR £100 million development at the former Arntz Belting factory site in Derry has been granted planning permission.

The scheme, which includes a four-storey medical hub totalling almost 75,000 sq ft, a 60,000 sq ft retail superstore, a restaurant, self service filling station and 800 car parking spaces, was approved by members of Derry City and Strabane District Council's planning committee yesterday.

German manufacturing firm, Arntz Belting made timing belts for vehicles and machinery. The business closed in 2010, due to the economic downturn, after trading for over 40 years at its Pennyburn base.

The 15-acre site has remained vacant ever since, with supermarket chain Asda previously mooted as a potential tenant.

Planning committee chairperson, Warren Robinson said the new mixed-use development is welcome news for the city and wider region.

“This is good news for Derry and a very positive regeneration opportunity that will not only bring about new jobs for the city and wider area but will see the development and regeneration of a large vacant and derelict site in the heart of the city,” he said

Previous estimates from planning representatives have suggested that the project could create 336 jobs for the local area - 195 at the retail superstore, 127 in the new medical facility and a further 14 in the restaurant.

As many as 300 construction jobs are also due to be supported over the duration of the build.

Arntz Belting Company is behind the project, while Belfast-based McGurran Associates is responsible for the design of the project.

Speaking last year, Robert Moore, managing director of Arntz Belting Company said the development would transform the Pennyburn area.

"It will regenerate the entire Pennyburn region and we look forward with great excitement and anticipation to see the development take place," Mr Moore told the Derry Journal.

“It's been a long arduous journey. Back in 2010 in Germany, we made the announcement that with the sad news of the closure because of the economic downturn, we wanted to leave a legacy in recognition of the workers in Arntz, who had been there for 45 years at that time.

"We are coming up to 50th anniversary and we are now fulfilling that legacy.”

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