“Tremendous boost” as Greenbank Development gets the go-ahead

May 29, 2012

By Christine Keighery

The news that hundreds of new jobs are in the pipeline for Newry, with the construction of a significant new development at Greenbank, is being herladed as a much needed boost for the city.

Alex Attwood, Environment Minister, announced his decision last week to grant planning permission for the ambitious new project at the ABP Meats processing factory in Newry.  Over one thousand jobs are expected to be created as the site at Greenbank Industrial Estate, Warrenpoint Road is transformed with cafes and restaurants, an Enterprise/Innovation Centre, fifty apartments for use as social housing, a foodstore, non-food retail units, a covered mall and a new riverside walkway and cycleway.

Alex Attwood said: “This will be a tremendous boost for the city of Newry. It will bring significant economic and social benefits, including up to 1,130 new jobs, much needed social housing and a new riverside walkway and cycleway. This is especially welcome given the economic downturn.

The Minister offered reassurance regarding the potential relocation of ABP Meats by revealing that efforts were on-going to acquire an alternative site in Newry to which the existing business can be relocated.

“There is no doubt” he added, “that the proposed redevelopment of the site will help create a better place to live, work and invest in the Newry area.”

ABP owner, Larry Goodman, whose investment company, Parma Investments Ltd, is behind the development plans, has also stated his commitment to retaining his meat processing operation in Newry.

The proposal will help deliver a number of the objectives in the Programme for Government including increasing visitor numbers, supporting the promotion of new jobs and delivering social housing.

Commenting on the granting of planning permission for the major development, MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Murphy, said;

“This is a welcome development for Newry, which could lead to 1,130 new jobs being created.  The plans are for a mixed use development which includes retail outlets, café’s and restaurants, an enterprise centre and social housing.

“I have been involved with this development for many years and have worked closely with Parma Developments to help ensure that they retain their operations in the Newry area if at all possible.

“I particularly welcome the boost to the local construction sector which this development will bring; I hope that social clauses will be included in the tender process to bring more people back into employment.  People currently living in the vicinity of the area must be consulted and kept informed of progress and I look forward to seeing the work start and its progression and conclusion in the not too distant future.”

Newry based MLA Mickey Brady added,

“There are also plans for a riverside walk contained within this development proposal.  I look forward to the culmination of this work and, having spoken to Newry people, I know that everybody is behind this local good news story.”

SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh, Dominic Bradley MLA, echoed those sentiments.  Speaking after the announcement was made last Wednesday, Mr Bradley said,

“This is a great day for Newry and today’s decision by Alex Attwood will be a welcome announcement in many homes across Newry and South Armagh this evening. Over recent months I have had a number of meetings with Parma Developments, who are the promoters of this development, and also met Minister Attwood to offer my support for this development.’

“This development is good news for Newry and the wider area.  It will provide much needed Social Housing; it will add to the retail attractiveness of Newry and add impetus to the entrepreneurial and innovation community locally.  Obviously there is the added benefit of the development to the construction industry in the area which has been struggling in recent years.’

Mr Bradley added that the relocation of ABP to another site within Newry may also mean “doubling their current workforce” and said he looked forward to ABP honouring their commitment to Newry and to the local farming community “who have served the company so well over the years.”

In conclusion Mr Bradley said,

“All in all, this development is a win – win for Newry, for the construction industry, for the retail sector, for social housing, for local farmers and for the company itself.  I very much look forward to further progress being made on this proposal over the coming weeks and months.”