Business Insight

Proposal for major Newry retail park narrowly defeated by planning committee

PROPOSAL: A plan for the proposed retail park at Carnbane, outside Newry
Ryan McAleer

COUNCILLORS on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s planning committee have narrowly voted to reject a bid to construct a major retail park on the outskirts of Newry.

Co Down developer Laurence Breen’s proposal was defeated by just a single vote on Wednesday.

Planning officials at the local authority had recommended refusing permission for the 244,000 sq ft retail venture on the former HMRC site at Carnbane.

Business leaders including Newry Chamber of Commerce, said their analysis suggests a 29 per cent hit to retail in the city centre, should the new development go ahead.

But Mr Breen argued that the £100 million development could bring hundreds of jobs and an economic windfall for the area.

The proposal was debated in Newry yesterday, with four members of the planning committee voting to reject the application, with two voting to overturn the recommendation in favour of Mr Breen’s company Damolly Developments.

The outcome has been welcomed by Newry Chamber, Newry BID and Retail NI.

In a joint statement yesterday, the three organisations described it as a good news story for Newry city centre traders.

“If this application had been granted, Carnbane would have been a competing city centre, drawing away jobs, retailers, hospitality and shoppers and would have caused incalculable damage to Newry City Centre.

“It would have had a retail impact on Newry City Centre of nearly 30 per cent and would have been completely contrary to the town centre planning policy and the local development plan.

“We want Newry City Centre to be the location for new retail stores."

However Mr Breen can now take his case to the Planning Appeals Commission.

Meanwhile, two businessmen have submitted a planning application for a major retail, hotel and cinema development in Enniskillen.

Elm Grange Limited is proposing 111,000 sq ft of retail space at the former Unipork factory site, around 1km north of the town centre.

It bid includes five retail units, two garden centres, an indoor adventure centre, cinema, bowling alley, hotel, drive-thru restaurant, coffee pod and a large car park.

A number of businesses in the centre of Enniskillen have already voiced their objection to the venture.

The businessmen behind the plan are Mark Curran, managing director of Co Armagh motor parts company CMP, and Frank Curran, managing director of Moy development firm Roxborough Plant & Construction.

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