Retail NI has called on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to refuse planning permission for a proposed Asda supermarket and petrol station in the Doagh Road area of Newtownabbey.
The body, which represents independent retailers across the province, has voiced a number of concerns about the planning application, including claims that existing jobs in the region may be lost if the new store is constructed.
In a statement issued yesterday (Thursday), Glyn Roberts, chief executive, said: “Retail NI would urge Antrim and Newtownabbey Council to adhere to planning policy and not undermine and prejudice their Local Development Plan, by refusing this application.
“As we have seen before with countless other out-of-town superstores, applications like these always destroy and displace existing town centre retail jobs.
“Newtownabbey has a distinctive retail environment with a significant number of local neighbourhood retailers who are the life blood of the community. These facilities will be jeopardised, and job losses will occur if permission is granted.
“The council needs to stand up for their local independent retailers and refuse this application.”
In response, a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, said: “The council can confirm that it is currently processing a major planning application (Reference: LA03/2018/0842/F) submitted by ASDA for a new retail foodstore and petrol filling station with associated ancillary works and landscaping at 229-333 Doagh Road, Monkstown.
“The proposal remains under consideration at this time and, as with all major applications, a report will be presented to the council’s planning committee in due course for its consideration.”
Commenting in the proposal, an Asda spokesperson said: “We are currently at an advanced stage with our planning application for a new 40,000 sq ft Asda store in Newtownabbey.
“Our long running engagement with the local community has been extremely positive and we hope to bring this major investment to the area, creating up to 250 full and part-time jobs and bringing Asda value to consumers in the locality.
“We will continue to engage fully in the planning process and look forward to this reaching a conclusion in due course”.