Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Proposed Newry retail park development rejected by narrowest of margins

A proposed major retail development at Carnbane on the outskirts of Newry has been rejected by Newry Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) planners by the narrowest of margins.

There was just a single vote in it as councillors voted at Wednesday’s meeting of the Council’s planning committee.

The proposal by developer Laurence Breen – in the name of Damolly Developments – for a £62.5m retail park on the former Customs site at Carnbane Way had been previously recommended for refusal by NMDDC planning officials.

Business leaders in Newry city had vociferously opposed the development, claiming it would decimate the city centre.

Ahead of the vote, Matrix Planning Consultancy, Newry BID (Business Improvement District) and Retail NI presented to the planning committee, outlining their objection to the application. The Committee voted 4-2, with one abstention, in favour of accepting the Council Planners’ recommendation to reject the application.

The outcome has been welcomed by representatives from Retail NI, Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade and Newry BID.

A sketch of the proposed retail park at Carnbane which was rejected by Council planners.

In a joint statement, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts, Newry Chamber CEO Colm Shannon and Newry BID MD, Eamonn Connolly, said: “This is a very welcome development and a good news story for Newry city centre and its traders.

“If this application had been granted, Carnbane would have been a competing city centre, drawing away jobs, retailers, hospitality and shoppers and would have caused incalculable damage to Newry city centre.

“It would have had a retail impact on Newry city centre of nearly 30 per cent and would have been completely contrary to the town centre planning policy and the local development plan.

“We want Newry city centre to be the location for new retail stores.

“Our three organisations believe that Newry city centre has a fantastic future providing a competitive 21st century retail and hospitality offer which is fun and family-friendly for shoppers North and South.  We need to build on Newry’s strong track record of being an eco-system of innovation and meeting head-on the challenges that Brexit presents to the city,” they added.