26/08/2010

John Lewis Planning Delays Debated

A long-running row over the proposed John Lewis store for Lisburn yesterday spilled onto the steps of Belfast City Hall when Lisburn councillors told of their disappointment at being "excluded from a meeting" about town centre regeneration including the Sprucefield development.

The event, organised by a number of organisations including the Association of Town Centre Management, was set up to discuss the protection of towns and city centres with particular reference to the Sprucefield development in Lisburn.
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Among those addressing the meeting was John King, Chief Executive of the House of Fraser, who said John Lewis "should come to Belfast instead of Lisburn". He said the Victoria Square shopping centre where his flaghsip shop is based "had nothing to fear" from such a move.

But yesterday Lisburn councillors, led by Mayor Paul Porter and Planning Committee Chairman Ronnie Crawford, arrived at the City Hall to vent their fury at their perceived snub having claimed they had been snubbed and accused Belfast Lord Mayor Pat Convery of playing politics with jobs at a time when Northern Ireland can least afford it.

However, a spokesman for Belfast council said that, while the mayor was hosting the event, the council were "not the organisers of the event".

"Lisburn council was not invited and neither were the other 25 councils. They were not treated any differently from anyone else," said a statement.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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