11/11/2008

Dublin John Lewis Should Push Sprucefield Decision, Says Mayor

Lisburn Mayor Ronnie Crawford has insisted that national retailer John Lewis's decision to build a Dublin store should act as a fillip for increased political support for a Northern Ireland site.

He said: "This will be a test of the seriousness with which our politicians treat our Northern Ireland economy. An urgent decision is required on the development of Sprucefield Park including a John Lewis Store."

Mr Crawford said he is assured that the Dublin store will not effect the retail chain's plans to locate near Lisburn, however, he stressed the danger of a Dublin store opening before a Northern Ireland offering.
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"The company now has alternative plans and would be a terrible indictment of our planning process if the Dublin store were to be opened before Sprucefield, given the fact that the application was started here some four years ago.

"There is still the possibility that Northern Ireland could lose not only the initiative but potentially 1,000 much-needed jobs and it will be our politicians who will carry the responsibility," said the Mayor.

"In current economic conditions and with future economic predictions, it is vital to ensure that 'Northern Ireland plc' provides as complete a choice of shopping for consumers," he added.

Lisburn City Council has launched a petition for the Westfield Development proposals at Sprucefield.

The Mayor urged people who want to see John Lewis come to Lisburn to sign it.

See: John Lewis Plans First Irish Store

(PR/JM)

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