Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

100m plan 'could bring 800 jobs'

The plans would see Foyleside being the largest shopping centre in NI
The plans would see Foyleside being the largest shopping centre in NI

Plans for a £100m extension to a Londonderry shopping centre could create 500 construction jobs and 300 full-time jobs, it has been claimed.

The proposals for Foyleside Shopping Centre include new retail space, an office block and a nine-screen cinema.

The manager of Foyleside, Des Farrell, said it would make it the biggest shopping centre in Northern Ireland.

"We certainly feel this is a major shot in the arm for the economy of our city and the greater north west," he said.

"You're really talking about what would be the biggest retail scheme in Northern Ireland and Foyleside has been one of the most successful schemes in Ireland since it opened in 1995.

"We want to build on that success and I think in the current climate it's extremely significant."

The plans would see the centre expanded by 235,000 square feet and would take an estimated two years to complete.

Foyle SDLP MP, Mark Durkan, said the £100m investment would be a major boost to the city.

"We've all worried as we've seen a lot of retail developments setting up out of town, so the fact that they are making the expansion in the city has to be welcomed.

"This is great news but we do have to recognise it's not something that is going to happen overnight," Mr Durkan said.

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson said it was "a massive vote of confidence" for the retail sector in the city.

"These plans could be a major part of the jigsaw in the regeneration of Derry city centre.

"It comes at a time of other major construction work such as the new Peace Bridge across the Foyle ,the Ilex plans and a £1bn investment in the north west's road and rail infrastructure."

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