10/12/2009

Tesco's Northcott Rebuilding Plan Approved

After a lengthy wait, and as the current infrastructure continues to deteriorate, a once major Co Antrim shopping centre is to be rebuilt.

The proposed complete redevelopment of Northcott Shopping Centre in Newtownabbey - by Blanca Developments - was given the go-ahead through the fast-stream Planning Service's Pre-Application Discussion (PADs) system.

NI Environment Minister, Edwin Poots granted the £35million regeneration plan: "The proposal represents a high quality modern development for the area, replacing the current centre which, although of its time, is now somewhat run down and in need of redress," he said.

The Minister stressed that the Planning Service will support the future economic development needs of Northern Ireland by making decisions on applications such as this in a timely manner.

Tesco, currently the anchor tenant in Northcott, will increase roughly double in size, creating up to 200 new high quality, full and part-time jobs for the area.

These workers will join the 170 employees currently working in the store, bringing the number of people employed by Tesco across Newtownabbey Borough Council area to more than 750.

There will also be around 250 positions for construction workers during the build programme as well.

Stephen Cochrane, Stores Director for Tesco in Northern Ireland, said: "We are delighted that planning permission for this development has been granted and would like to thank the Minister and Planning Service for what we know is an extensive piece of work to process this application.

"Northcott Shopping Centre is extremely outdated and has long been in need of modernisation.

"This redevelopment, which will involve a newly built shopping centre located at the far side of the current car-park, will provide the residents of Newtownabbey with a much-improved shopping centre and amenities.

"While the new development - which will be renamed Sandyknowes Shopping Centre - is being built, Tesco hopes to be able to continue to trade in the current Northcott Shopping Centre. This will provide as smooth a transition as possible for staff and customers," he said, noting that he is looking forward to "being the anchor tenant in this new, modern, state-of-the-art facility and providing our customers with a better shopping experience".

"We will be working closely with Blanca Developments during the next phase of this development.

"We would hope in the future to jointly arrange a display of the plans in the Centre to provide information about our new store and the new shopping centre," he concluded.

The proposal involves the demolition of the existing centre with the erection of a new shopping centre with surface car parking to accommodate 840 cars. It will include a Tesco Store along side 12 open class retail units, a Tesco café and a petrol filling station.

Tesco has recently suffered planning disappointments in Banbridge, Co Down and in England, where planned developments were turned down.

However, a large store in Newtownards, Co Down, did get the green light last week, with this latest news a further boost for the UK's leading supermarket chain.

See: Banbridge Tesco Plans Rejected

(BMcC/KMcA)

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