Retail NI calls for rejection of Asda superstore in Newtownabbey
THE voice for smaller retailers in the north has urged a local authority to reject Asda's bid for a major new store in Co Antrim.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is considering the supermarket giant's proposal for a superstore and fuel station at the former Nortel site at the Monkstown Industrial Estate.
Retail NI has called on the council's planning committee to listen to the concerns of traders over the potential impact of the venture, when it is considered in the new year.
The business group said it has written to the Department for Infrastructure citing concerns that the application has been pre-determined and could be granted for what it calls “political reasons”.
Asda has claimed the new store could bring 250 new jobs and an economic boost to the area.
But the chief executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts, said: “As we have seen before with countless other out-of-town superstores, applications like these always destroy and displace existing town centre retail jobs.
“Newtownabbey has a distinctive retail environment with a significant number of local neighbourhood retailers who are the life blood of the community. These facilities will be jeopardised, and job losses will occur if permission is granted,” he said.
“Out-of-town retail development is the main reason why Northern Ireland has the highest town centre retail vacancy rate in the UK, due to some historic poor planning decisions. This type of retail application belongs in the past and will do nothing long-term to benefit the local economy or Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough."