Tesco's Sandyknowes Centre 'Imminent'

The long awaited construction of a new Tesco superstore in Glengormley's neglected Northcott Shopping Centre has begun.

Although Tesco has yet to provide details, workmen are now on site beside the dilapidated supermarket shopping centre - with the wrecker's ball to level the premises after Easter.

Many retailing jobs will result as well as around 250 positions for construction workers during the badly delayed building programme to build the new Sandyknowes Shopping Centre that will replace Northcott.

The development is long behind schedule as plans were approved in December 2009 with the new £35m complex originally due to have been finished last Christmas.

Tesco staff have now been told they are to be re-located after Easter as the demolition of the aged centre is to commence.

They are to be distributed around other Tesco stores, such as Carnmoney Road, or Church Road - the Tesco HQ in NI.

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

In December 2009 he said: "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."

Blanca Developments who will build the centre, welcomed the speed of the approval and said the local community's views had been taken on board from the outset.

The firm is a low-profile company currently listed as based in Cloughmills, Co Antrim whose directors and shareholders have interests in a number of other retail developments across NI including the Buttercrane in Newry and Foyleside in Londonderry.

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 with 250 building jobs during the construction phase.

Stephen Cochrane, Stores Director for Tesco in Northern Ireland, said: "We are delighted that planning permission for this development has been granted."

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 alongside 12 open class retail units, a Tesco café and a petrol filling station.

Local petrol retailers have been worried about the impact of cut-price fuel being sold on the site, but Spar and Vivo wholesaler, John Henderson hasn't let this deter their development.

"Tesco is expanding aggressively," said Paddy Doody, Sales and Marketing Director at Henderson Wholesale, but Tesco's second Newtownabbey forecourt was no surprise.

He said that competition is "healthy" and that the fight was joined with major work at the 'company-owned' Spar forecourt at Glenwell Road.

He said that the newly redeveloped Spar Glenwell store, located on the Antrim Road opened its doors at Christmas.

The new 41,411 sq ft complex includes a store and forecourt, and has been redeveloped under Henderson Retail's multi-million pound investment in its estate.

A new on-site Post Office has since opened in the development.

The Chair of Newtownabbey Borough Council's Planning Committee, Alderman Nigel Hamilton, had a cautious welcomed for the rebuilding of the decrepit Northcott - but is also aware of the likely impact.

He warned that the 'new' Tesco jobs are welcome, but a further filling station will bring additional pressure to the vulnerable forecourts.

See: Tesco's Northcott Plan Approved

See: Planners Provoke Forecourt War


Related Northern Ireland Business News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 April 2011
Northcott Demolition Begins At Weekend
A supermarket project in Co Antrim will secure construction jobs for around 250 people at a time when the industry is struggling. As revealed exclusively on Tesco's Sandyknowes Centre Underway work started on the brand-new Tesco Extra and petrol filling station earlier this month.
10 December 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.
08 April 2011
McLaughlin And Harvey Scoop Tesco Northcott
The main contractor has been appointed for the redevelopment of the Northcott Shopping Centre at Ballyclare Road, Glengormley - with Tesco as the anchor tenant. Although the UK's top supermarket chain continues to refuse comment, it has emerged that McLaughlin and Harvey have won the £35m regeneration contract. According to the website www.
15 February 2010
Planners Provoke Forecourt War
It's to be petrol nozzles at dawn as independent retailers battle Tesco in 'forecourt wars'. The 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 in December.
31 May 2011
Demolition Progresses As Sandyknowes Centre Rises
Demolition work is currently well advanced on the out-dated and dilapidated Northcott Shopping Centre in Glengormley. After weeks of uncertainty over a start date and a Tesco refusal to comment, the existing store closed at the end of April so that work could be started on the multi-million pound replacement Sandyknowes Shopping Centre.