I note that Northern Ireland's present Environment Minister, one Mark Durkan by name, has decided to recommend a mixed use planning application at Rossdowney Road, Londonderry which is to incorporate a new food superstore, (so says the Derry Journal.). Mr Durkan is reported as saying that the development will benefit the local area and the Waterside as a whole. I wonder whether the owner of the neighbourhood supermarket which is located some fifty yards from this new development would wholeheartedly agree with Mr Durkan? I think that I know the answer to that question.
Perhaps there have been food shortages in the Waterside area of Londonderry with emergency supplies being trucked in, but if there have been I haven't heard of them. In addition to the neighbourhood supermarket already referred to there is a larger supermarket within approximately six hundred yards and a large Tesco within seven hundred yards. How many supermarkets do we require? What evidence of need is there for another outlet at the top of the human food chain? I would accept that the local economy may benefit from some short term construction jobs, but if this feeder of waistlines is constructed will there be a net increase in employment in food retail in the catchment area of this, "superstore." two or three years hence? Logic says no unless there is an increase in population, or BMI's are allowed to increase, or there is a major problem with intestinal worms!