21/04/2010

Banbridge Wants Tesco Project 'In Town'

Traders in a busy Co Down town are hoping for new jobs by backing an expansion project by Tesco - provided it keeps to its original proposal - at its current central location.

Commenting on a plan to instead build a new store outside the town, Banbridge Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) have reiterated their support for a proposed 80,000 sq foot Tesco store.

Rosin McAleenan President of Banbridge Chamber of Commerce said: "We are very proud of Banbridge as possibly 'the best town in Northern Ireland', with a very wide range of local and national retailers working together to produce an excellent shopping experience.

"We merely seek to protect our town from the retail devastation and job losses that seems to accompany 'out of town shopping'.

"Local examples of this can be seen a matter of a few miles away in Lurgan and Portadown which are under tremendous pressure from the development at Rushmere.

"An 80,000 sq ft Tesco would be a tremendous addition to Banbridge, providing much needed retail and construction jobs and an improved retail offering from the UK’s number one retailer.

"So why not simply exercise the original planning permission (also coincidentally to 80,000 sq ft), and extend the existing store, thus providing new jobs, while protecting those existing in the town at the same time.

"As planning permission is already in place this extension could start work today creating jobs and rates for the whole town immediately."

She continued: "The facts are simple. Banbridge Chamber of Commerce and NIIRTA supports Tesco expanding at their current Castlewellan Road site to 80,000 sq ft rather than the same size of store being located two miles out of town.

"We want to work with Tesco, the Bridgewater developers and the Outlet to further the local economy in Banbridge and both Banbridge Chamber and NIIRTA will meet with them at any time to discuss our proposals."

Glyn Roberts, NIIRTA Chief Executive added: "At the end of the day it is only a question as to where the proposed Tesco store is located and we want to explore the possibility of a deal which all sides can support.

"Let's try and resolve this situation for the good of all the people of Banbridge."

(NS/BMcC)

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