Out-of-town superstore plans refused

Published Tuesday, 15 April 2014
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Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has refused applications for four out-of-town supermarkets near Magherafelt in Co Londonderry.

Out-of-town superstore plans refused
The final decision on the applications rested with the Minister. (© Presseye)

Plans had been submitted for developments on the Moneymore Road, Castledawson Road, Thornhill Avenue and Ballyronan Road.

Mr Durkan said he made the decision to refuse them because he felt they could have a negative impact on trade in the "strong and vibrant" town centre.

"There is already a Tesco operating outside the town centre and I believe the town centre could not survive another main food retailer at an out of centre location without having a detrimental impact on existing businesses," the SDLP minister explained.

"Protecting the town centre was not my only consideration in making these decisions. Road safety, impact on the environment and residents were all significant factors."

The Department of the Environment said there had been a "high level" of opposition to the plans for the four retail developments, but it also received letters of support.

It said it consulted with a number of statutory bodies including DRD Roads Service over the issue.

Mr Durkan continued: "These decisions announced today are all shaping a planning system that delivers for business but not at the expense of our environment, planet or people.

"A system that builds a better environment and a stronger economy."

A statement from the NI Independent Retail Trade Association welcomed the news.

Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: "This is good news not just for independent retailers in Magherafelt, but for its town centre as a whole. It was simply ludicrous that such a small town could possibly sustain one out-of -own superstore, never mind four.

"Magherafelt town centre should be the top priority for future retail development as it still has a challenge with shop vacancy rates.

"It is vital that independent and multiple retailers work together on this."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Gerard in Magherafelt wrote (289 days ago):
This man should be removed from a position of responsibility and made accountable for one poor decision after another.
Paul in Belfast wrote (290 days ago):
When are politicians going to realise that town centre shopping is dying. High prices , rip off parking , over enthuastic traffic wardens and shops closed when you need them. Give me out of town superstores any day
Jayne patton in belfast wrote (291 days ago):
So why let a tesco open in the old Rosetta bar right next to an existing co op and on ormeau to beside centra?
Taxi Paul in Belfast wrote (291 days ago):
More jobs this man has cost the country. Tesco in Ballynahinch, the Lisburn fiasco, remember the Shore road and now Magherafelt. He should be forced to live on £57.35 a week for a couple of months to see if it changes his bad attitude and or poor decision making. All he is doing is interfering with Market forces and ensuring people pay more for their goods. These supermarkets bring more choice, better value and create jobs. Like many of our politicians he is living in the past and his bias choices are having a negative impact on the economy, the financial income of our workforce and as a consequence the quality of life of the people.
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