Hearing to scrutinise plan for major retail development

The Bombardier site at Church Road. INNT 33-596CON
The Bombardier site at Church Road. INNT 33-596CON

A planning application for a major retail development at Church Road is to be the subject of a pre-determination hearing next month.

The outline application relates to a proposed mixed use development comprising a supermarket, petrol filling station and light industrial units on the Bombardier Aerospace site near the Valley Leisure Centre.

The amended scheme proposes the development of a 5,500 sq/m supermarket and approximately 3,000 sq/m of business/light industrial units.

A number of objections have already been lodged against the application, including one from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association.

The pre-determination hearing will give the applicant, planning officials, councillors, objectors and members of the public an opportunity to air their views about the scheme before the council’s Planning Committee is asked to either approve or refuse planning permission for the project.

At the council’s Planning Committee meeting on Monday night (August 15), members were informed that “to date no end user has been identified for the supermarket element of the scheme.”

According to Bombardier, the proposed development area focuses on the buildings previously occupied by FG Wilson and Lear Fan.

The aerospace firm, which currently employs more than 1,000 workers in the Newtownabbey area, most of them at its Doagh Road facility, says it is “exploring options” and has stressed that the Church Road site is not for sale and “not under threat of closure”.

The committee was informed that the pre-determination hearing could take place on Thursday, September 8. However, as they ‘noted’ the report on the application, members were advised that confirmation of the date and time for the hearing will be finalised by council officers and advertised in the local press.