Newtownabbey Asda supermarket plan hits roadblock

Plans for a new Asda store in Newtownabbey were dramatically halted on Monday night after a Stormont department stepped in at the eleventh hour.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 3:49 pm
A CGI visualization of the proposed store.

The supermarket chain is seeking planning permission for demolition of the former Nortel factory which closed in 2009 and construction of a new 70,000 sq ft food store, filling station and car park at Doagh Road through a £17.5m investment at Monkstown Industrial Estate.

The company has indicated that the development would lead to the creation of 100 construction jobs and 258 full-time posts in-store, generating £4.37m in salaries.

Planning approval has been recommended for the application which was on the agenda at Monday’s meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey’s Planning Committee.

However, committee members were told by Head of Planning John Linden that the Department for Infrastructure wished to serve a direction order with the effect that the council may not proceed to grant planning permission until further advised by the Department. He indicated the council may be obliged to hold a pre-determination hearing.

Retail NI has urged councillors to reject the application amid fears over the potential impact on local traders and existing retail jobs in the area.

Alliance Councillor Billy Webb proposed the council advise the Department how “disappointed we are and indeed how annoyed we are” and the decision was being taken off a democratic body.

A spokesperson for Asda said: “Whilst we are disappointed that the application has been deferred, we will continue to work with all concerned to successfully progress our plans for a new store in Newtownabbey.”

By Michelle Weir

Local Democracy Reporter

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