Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Green light for new £6m service station despite opposition

Plans for a new £6million motorway service station for Newry have been given the go ahead despite Council planners previously recommending that it be refused.

The project has also been met with stiff opposition from existing businesses amid claims it will “decimate” their trade and lead to job losses.

The proposed development submitted by Maxol Ltd has been beset with delays while planners have considered the application for almost two years.  

In June this year, the Council’s Planning Committee recommended the project be refused, however following further consideration and despite numerous objections, the application has been rubber-stamped after councillors voted to approve the scheme.

Objections to the development included one from Birth Mothers and their Children for Justice NI group, who claim there is a “high potential for unmarked and unofficial human remains” in the area.  The basis of the claim is because the land was previously owned by The Good Shepherd Sisters, who ran the Marian Vale Mother and Baby Home, which closed in the early 80s.

Meanwhile a group representing existing businesses in the Dublin Road area of Newry also vehemently objected to the development.

The ‘Dublin Road Services Operators Group’ said, if approved, the Maxol facility will “decimate” existing businesses that are already “doing more than enough to meet the demands of motorway users”.

Developers behind the proposal claim the new service station will create 60 jobs when complete, and provide employment for around 80 workers during the construction phase.

The extensive facility will incorporate a fuel station, shop and restaurant services, as well as children’s recreation area, and dedicated coach, lorry and caravan parking.  It is to be built on a green field site next to the former Good Shepherd Convent on the Armagh Road, located just off the A1 dual carriageway, with access via the Carnbane/Shepherds Way roundabout.