28/03/2011

Tesco's Banbridge Store Approved

Not everyone has welcomed news that the supermarket giant, Tesco has been given the go-ahead to build a large store at the Bridgewater Retail Park, Banbridge.

Even though it will be part of a development which will include retail warehouses and create hundreds of jobs, smaller traders are worried about the impact on their businesses.

Though not as big as the retailer had hoped, the new store will still be one of the largest in NI.

This is because two previous planning applications were rejected and objectors had said the development would damage Banbridge town centre.

Tesco first submitted plans in 2007 and presented an amended scheme in 2008, which slightly reduced the size of the proposed store.

Stormont Environment Minister Edwin Poots commented: "This is great news for Banbridge. It represents major inward investment and will bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the area, including nearly 400 new jobs.

"With the site's excellent road linkages, this development will boost visitor numbers to the area by enhancing the retail offer that exists at Bridgewater Park."

However, the Northern Ireland Retail Traders Association reacted angrily to the announcement, warning Banbridge could end up as a "tumbleweed town".

Chief Executive Glyn Roberts commented: "It's not good news. I think it's a very bad decision and effectively it is the last decision of this outgoing environment minister to give Banbridge town centre and its traders a P45. We need to nail this myth about all these jobs that they are bringing. These jobs will be displaced or destroyed jobs from Banbridge town centre," he said.

"I think that this is a hammer blow for Banbridge."

Elsewhere, Tesco is set to finally demolish the Glengormley Northcott complex - which it anchors - after Easter to make way for a delayed project to rebuild the ageing facility.

(JG/KMcA)

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