20/10/2005

John Lewis objectors take their case to court

The planning approval for a new John Lewis superstore in Lisburn has been challenged at the High Court on Thursday.

Belfast City Council and the Chamber of Trade and Commerce combined to mount the joint challenge to the planning approval, which was given in June despite going against the advice of Planning Service officials.

The new £40 million store, which will be situated at Sprucefield, is expected to be opened by Christmas 2007 with over 1,000 jobs created.

However, at today's hearing those against the new store were granted leave for a judicial review of the decision.

The decision in June, which has also been criticised by Lisburn Chamber of Commerce and the city's Bow Street Mall, will see a new 220,000 sq ft department store housed at the site, with around 700 jobs being created in store and a further 200 in warehousing.

John Lewis said Sprucefield was the "only viable location" for the £40 million development, having ruled out Belfast city centre, saying it could not sustain a full-range department store.

The company has also said that if the Sprucefield plans fail to come to fruition it will not consider any other site in Northern Ireland and instead will look at offers received from Dublin.

(MB/SP)

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