and the proposed developers are to make a strong challenge at the monthly planning committee meeting of Newry Mourne and Down District Council to be held on Wednesday morning 11 December. There is a prospect the matter could be drawn out and go to an appeal stage despite planning officers recommending a refusal if the full council further rejects the proposal at its first full meeting in early January 2020.
Newry BID, Newry Chamber of Commerce and Retail NI will again at the Planning Meeting urge Newry Mourne and Down District Council to reject the proposed out of town retail application in Carnbane writes Kevin McAteer.
The Council will once again consider the planning application which is recommended for refusal by Planning Officers on 11th December located at the former HM Revenue Customs House and Clearance Station at Carnbane Way, Carnbane Industrial Estate, Newry.
The Council’s own planning consultants’ figures indicate that the proposed scheme will have the highest retail capacity and impact in Northern Ireland.
This application, combined with the retail floor space of the food superstore, amounts to an eye-watering total of 22,653 sqm gross retail floor space (243,834.86 sqft) at an out of town location. This does not include the restaurants and café, which would also be deemed to be main town centre uses.
To place this in context, the current application at Sprucefield Park (Regional Shopping Centre as per RDS 2035 paragraph 3.41) is for 20,702 sqm gross retail floor space. This figure excludes the restaurants and hotel.
At the Planning Meeting being held in the Monaghan Row Chamber of Newry Mourne and Down District Council, a heavy brew of speakers has lined up to what will be a long and detailed meeting: a request for speaking rights has been received from Andy Stephens, Matrix Planning; Glyn Roberts, CE of Retail NI and Eamonn Connolly, Newry BIDS in objection to this application. A request for speaking rights has also been received from Laurence Breen; Martin Kelly; Stephen Shaw QC and Mike Prentice in support of the application.
Eamonn Connolly, Managing Director of the Newry BID said: “We are objecting to this proposal as its scale would destroy the heart of Newry.
“At a time when town and city centres are under huge pressure it makes no sense for Councillors to approve a massive development that their own professional officials recommend for refusal for good reason.
“We trust Councillors will listen to the local community and acknowledge that Newry is not big enough for two cities”
Newry Chamber Chief Executive Colm Shannon said:
“At a time when there is real confidence in the future of Newry City Centre, approving the development at Carnbane will undermine the future of our city centre.
“The scale of the proposed development will threaten the viability of retail businesses in the city and impact on local communities which benefit from easy access to these businesses.
“Newry is a forward and progressive city with a variety of businesses that have served the needs of the people of Newry for generations. The Council’s own regeneration plans have already stimulated interest in our city centre.
“Approving the Carnbane proposals will undermine the future vision of a dynamic city centre centre with a vibrant mix of retail, commercial and leisure to meet the needs of both the day time and night time Newry economy of Newry.”
Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “This out of town retail application is one of the biggest ever and is in fact larger than Sprucefield.”
“Carnbane would be a competing with the city centre, drawing away jobs, retailers, hospitality, shoppers and would cause incalculable damage to Newry City Centre. It would have a retail impact on Newry city centre of nearly 30% and is completely contrary to the town centre planning policy and the local development plan.
“Should the Council vote in favour of this application then it would make a mockery of the entire planning regime, policy and their own plan for the city centre.
“If local Councillors are committed to seeing a vibrant 21st century Newry city centre then they must oppose this job-threatening application.”
“Newry Mourne and Down Councillors must stand with their local city centre traders and reject this application.”