A proposed moratorium on major building developments in Derry could seriously affect timber and builders merchants in north-west Northern Ireland.

Strain on the city’s only waterworks at Culmore is being blamed for the proposed building ban.

Critics forecast that thousands of pounds in wages will go unpaid and suppliers such as timber and builders merchants will lose out if planned developments do not go ahead. And this, they say, will have a direct impact on the local economy.

Maurice Brooks, northern regional director of Belfast-based timber merchants and importers Brooks Group, said: “There is a serious planning issue here in Northern Ireland generally. Builders are being greatly held up by planning people who will not release land for development.

“Trade this year is slower than it was in 2001 and this is partly due to planning restrictions and the slowness of decision making.”