Lidl look set to overcome planning hurdles for delayed Newcastle store

A computer generated image produced for Lidl's new store in Newcastle.

LIDL looks set to finally move ahead with its new supermarket in Newcastle, Co Down, more than five years after entering the planning process.

Lidl bought the former school site from the local Catholic parish in 2016.

The £3 million project, which hasn’t been without controversy, narrowly obtained outline approval in November 2020 after Newry, Mourne and Down’s planning committee voted six to four in favour.

A detailed follow-up planning application looks set to be approved by the committee next week.

The development on Shan Slieve Drive and Bryansford Road, which involves the demolition of the former St Mary’s Primary School building, will also see the construction of a new £500,000 base for Mourne Rescue.

An original ‘reserved matters’ application was withdrawn by Lidl in March 2021.

It followed legal action by objectors to the proposal.

A redrafted version of the application will now go before the council’s planning committee on November 17, with officials recommending it go ahead.

If the committee once again backs the proposal, work is likely to commence next year, some six years after Lidl first acquired the site.

It will see the German retailer move from its location next to the Slieve Donard Hotel at Newcastle's listed former train station, where it has operated since 2001.

The grocer has long asserted that the store is too small for its growth aspirations in the town.

Lidl said it remains committed to investing in a new state-of-the-art store in Newcastle “which is proportionate and complements the location”.

The supermarket chain said the development “will also provide the Mourne Mourne Mountain Rescue Team the space it needs to develop a new facility, futureproofing the organisation’s future plans and its ability to continue providing a lifesaving service”.

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