Monkstown Asda store decision postponed

A decision expected to be reached by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Monday evening over an application by supermarket chain Asda for a new store in Monkstown has been postponed.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 3:33 pm

The recommendation by planning officers is to approve the application.

The item’s inclusion in the schedule for tonight’s meeting was published on the council’s website, but a spokesperson for the local authority confirmed it will now not be discussed.

At a pre-determination hearing last month over plans to open a new Asda branch at Monkstown Industrial Estate in Newtownabbey, Retail NI reiterated opposition to the location of the proposed new store saying that it is “the last thing that struggling retailers need”.

A CGI visualization of the proposed store.

Plans for the new supermarket were dramatically halted after the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) served a direction order with the effect the council could not proceed to grant planning permission until further advised by DfI.

DfI has since reverted the decision back to the council.

The long-running application was submitted to the borough council in September 2018.

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.

Access from Doagh Road would be facilitated by a new roundabout to replace Doagh Road and Monkstown Road junction.

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

Retail NI has urged councillors to speak on behalf of local retailers.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “It is unbelievable that the council is even considering this. We believe it is in clear breach of planning policy.”

Fifteen letters of support have been received from local residents and a letter of support has been received from East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson.  There were three letters of objection from retail businesses. Tesco is among objectors.

According to a planning  report presented to councillors previously, a retail audit carried out by Nexus Planning on behalf of the council concluded the “catchment area identified is both realistic and proportionate for the development proposed”.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.

Click here to read: December date for new Newtownabbey Asda plan hearing by council

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