Former Newry Credit Union President speaks out against Carnbane complex

June 10, 2014

Tom Kelly, former Chair of Newry Town Centre Management, Co-chair of City Status Bid and former President of Newry Credit Union has described the decision by Minister Durkan to give the green light to the out of town development at Carnbane Way as “mind-boggling.”

Mr Kelly said the approval of the complex is at odds with the Minister’s own stated Town Centre’s First Policy and against his party’s election manifesto.

Citing “scores of reports” which evidence the scale of damage retail rings around town centres do to local sustainable development, Mr Kelly went on to accuse the SDLP of double standards in backing the new development when they had previously opposed the expansion of Sprucefield and recently voted to preserve the commercial centre of Magherafelt.

“Many independent retailers in Newry, who barely survived the recession, now face a threat brought about by those trusted to govern” he said,

“The question they have not answered is- if the creation of a large UK multiple with the addition of another fifty units at Sprucefield is such a threat to a metropolis the size of Belfast for the SDLP – how can they support the development of a fifteen hectare out of town site for another UK multiple with an additional seventy units outside a city a fifth the size of Belfast?

“What too is the point of the substantial street-scaping investment in Newry if permission is given to allow over seventy businesses to locate outside the city? Who will walk or visit a city denuded of retail or where there is no one working?

“Those of us who grew up in or chose to live and work in Newry did so because we value its history and commercial success.  We are proud of the city and its development.

“We welcome investment that works for the long-term benefit of the city and its people but don’t want to mortgage away the future for sake of poorly thought out decisions and short-term opportunism. Let’s speak out before it’s too late.”