Supermarket chain Asda has confirmed that it “remains in discussions” about its plans for a new superstore development near Monkstown.
In March 2012 the company announced plans for a £25million new-build on an area of disused land at the Monkstown Road/Doagh Road junction. It said the 40,000 sq/ft superstore and petrol filling station, part of a proposed wider mixed-use development on the 14-acre site beside the former Nortel factory, could create more than 300 full and part-time jobs.
More than 750 people attended public consultation events to have their say on Asda’s plans, with the overall reaction to the project being described by the company as “positive”.
This time last year, Asda told the Times that it was hoping to submit a planning application for the new store development within a matter of months.
“Asda remains committed to opening a store in Newtownabbey,” a company spokesman confirmed in January 2015. “We have been reviewing our plans and intend to submit an application for a 40,000 sq/ft store at the Monkstown and Doagh Road site in the early part of this year.”
However, with no visible signs of progress at the site, East Antrim PUP chairman Jim McCaw has now called on the supermarket giant to clarify its position, questioning whether or not it intends to go ahead with the project.
He stressed that the supermarket development would bring “much needed jobs to the local community.”
“Asda have stated recently that they are committed to ‘investing and growing’ the business here in Northern Ireland, and I can’t think of a better area than Monkstown for that to happen,” Mr McCaw said.
Responding to a request from the Times for information about its plans for the Doagh Road/Monkstown Road site, a spokesperson for Asda would only say: “Asda remains in discussions around the site but unfortunately it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time. In the meantime the Asda stores in Shore Road and Ballyclare, our Ballyclare Petrol Filling Station, plus our Grocery Home Shopping service will continue to offer Asda’s every day low prices to customers in the locality.”
• Read related story - Asda to push ahead with £25m superstore plan