Traders fu­ri­ous as Derry Girls TV shoot closes main shop­ping area

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY DONNA DEENEY AND MICHAEL SHEILS McNAMEE

A row has flared af­ter some traders ob­jected to plans to close one of Lon­don­derry’s main streets for the film­ing of Derry Girls.

Thou­sands of fans of the hit Chan­nel 4 com­edy are set to gather at Shipquay Street to watch pro­ceed­ings next week.

The multi-award-win­ning show de­picts the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of four school girls — Erin (Saoirse-Mon­ica Jack­son), her cousin Orla (Louisa Har­land) and their friends Clare (Nicola Cough­lan), Michelle (JamieLee O’Don­nell) and Michelle’s English cousin James (Dy­lan Llewellyn) in Derry in the Nineties set against a back­drop of the Trou­bles.

Se­ries one took au­di­ences by storm when the show aired on Chan­nel 4, which quickly com­mis­sioned a sec­ond se­ries.

A tem­po­rary road clo­sure will be in place on Aber­corn Road on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 14, and Shipquay Street and Shipquay Place — one of the main thor­ough­fares — on Thurs­day and Fri­day, Novem­ber 15 and 16.

But some busi­ness own­ers are op­posed to the shut­down.

Eight traders from the Shipquay Street and Shipquay Place area signed a let­ter stat­ing their con­cerns to the coun­cil.

In the let­ter, the traders — whose names are not listed — said: “We are al­ready in ex­tremely dif­fi­cult trad­ing con­di­tions and this would be an un­rea­son­able bur­den at any time and more so at the start of the Christ­mas trad­ing.

“... this is be­cause we be­lieve that the de­ci­sion to close Shipquay Street, a main shop­ping area for the town, dur­ing trad­ing hours, is un­rea­son­able and the coun­cil is act­ing Ul­tra Vires [a Latin ex­pres­sion mean­ing ‘be­yond one’s le­gal power’] in mak­ing this de­ci­sion.”

How­ever, city cen­tre man­ager Jim Roddy high­lighted the ben­e­fits of hav­ing the pro­duc­tion in Derry’s most iden­ti­fi­able street.

He said: “In and around £250m has been spent by NI Screen in var­i­ous pro­duc­tions, but this is the first time such a big pro­duc­tion has come to our city cen­tre that en­tails a street clo­sure.

“The pro­duc­tion com­pany Hat Trick told me they do not want to present ‘fake Derry’, which is why they want the film­ing to go ahead on Shipquay Street and that is some­thing that will I think bring long-term ben­e­fits to ev­ery­one trad­ing on the streets.”

Mr Roddy said he hoped fans of Derry Girls would come to see Shipquay Street for them­selves and spend money in the city.

He added: “They have al­ready taken 350 bed nights; they will be spend­ing their money in our bars and restau­rants and other shops and will be em­ploy­ing lo­cal se­cu­rity com­pa­nies so there are im­me­di­ate ben­e­fits to be had as well.

“All this is great, but if you are an in­de­pen­dent trader on Shipquay Street who thinks they may be los­ing money, they have ev­ery right to ob­ject and I have ev­ery sym­pa­thy with them, but I think in the long term ev­ery­one will ben­e­fit.”

Shipquay Street and Guild­hall Square will be closed to traf­fic all day on Thurs­day with a stopand-go sys­tem in op­er­a­tion on Fri­day. How­ever, pedes­tri­ans will be able to move freely both days.

❝ This is the first time such a big pro­duc­tion en­tails a street clo­sure in the city cen­tre

The stars of Derry Girls could at­tractthou­sands to Shipquay Street. Be­low: The se­ries writer Lisa McGee

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