Tesco’s plans for hypermarket back on shelf after appeal

Tesco’s plans to build a hypermarket on the outskirts of Banbridge have been put on hold, it has emerged.

The store at The Outlet in Bridgewater Park had been given outline planning permission in March of this year.

However, an appeal by the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has resulted in the case being granted leave for judicial review, a move which will stall any development.

Banbridge traders have long campaigned against the development, claiming it would turn the town centre into a ghost town.

“NIIRTA brought this case because we have major concerns that this proposed out-of-town hypermarket would remove an estimated £18m from Banbridge Town Centre, resulting in small independent traders closing and the net loss of hundreds of jobs,” Glyn Roberts NIIRTA chief executive said.

“Banbridge has one of the best town centres in Northern Ireland and we are committed to protecting it and ensuring it goes from strength to strength.”

Despite this, Tesco believes it has local support.

“We have popular plans to create hundreds of jobs and to invest millions of pounds in Banbridge and any delay will be extremely disappointing to local people,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Asda said it would scrap its plans for a 25,000 square foot store on the town’s Newry Road if the Tesco development is given the green light.

Philip Bartram, ASDA’s Senior Property Communications Manager, said: “I believe that our proposed plans for Banbridge are a better option for the town and the right decision for Banbridge as any new supermarket must be of an appropriate size, bring real choice to the area, help to improve the overall range of shops and support the town centre.”

Taken from David Elliot’s report in the Belfast Telegraph on Friday 9th September 2011.