Letter: Residents have not personally criticised caravanners

Dear Sir,

As Secretary of the Limavady Road Residents Group I would like to respond to the letter and article in the Londonderry Sentinel on March 27, 2013.

Mr McElmeel of the Irish Camping and Caravan Club (ICCC) makes the assertion that locals view caravanners as “alcoholics that want to terrorise residents”.

This would not be the view our group holds, nor would we ever articulate such a view. If Mr McElmeel had taken the time to study what we did say, he would quickly realise that we have consistently said that we support the need for proper facilities for caravanners and motorhomes in our City.

Our core focus is on protecting our historic park which dates back to the 1800s.

Other issues around parking, traffic, noise / light pollution and the possibility of travellers were raised at a public consultation, but I’m unaware of people being personally critical of caravanners.

Mr McElmeel needs to understand the history of the proposed site in that it was always part of St Columb’s Park and was sequestered in the late 70s for security purposes.

Our clear understanding was the land would be returned to the park when the security services were finished with it.

He goes on to give an ‘assurance’ that the site will not be turned into a ‘halting site’, something the owners of the site have yet to give, so I’m not sure from where he gets his authority.

Mr McElmeel in his letter to the editor, states the St Columb’s Park application replicates the Camac Valley Caravan Park in South Dublin.

I am familiar with this site and it could hardly be described as a city centre location as it is about 10 miles from the centre, in fact, Phoenix Park is much closer to Dublin City Centre, but strangely enough they don’t allow caravans!

The ICCC are entitled to their opinions and entitled to voice them, but giving assurances they clearly cannot give and branding residents as bigoted against caravanners is not the way to go.

Derry City Council provided us with a synopsis of comments by residents at the public consultation meeting. The comments outlined by Mr McElmeel were not listed.

Adrian McAuley

Secretary, Limavady Road Residents Group

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