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Planning decision is “mindboggling”

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Planning decision is “mindboggling” thumbnailTHE unnamed foodstore that is expected to be the centrepoint of the development. DEM2476

THE decision by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to grant planning permission for the Carnbane Way development has been described as "mindboggling" by the former chair of Newry Town Centre Management.
In a statement Tom Kelly claims that political representatives supporting the project have "gone rogue" from their official party positions.
“Those promoting this scheme keep saying that the site is within the city limits but they know fine well that only particular types of development are allowed within certain parts of urban areas," he said.
“The Buttercrane and The Quays shopping centres are clearly within the town centre designations and the recent Tesco Superstore is what is known as edge of town development. So why run a rogue policy for Newry when the SDLP MP for South Down almost certainly would not let something similar happen to Downpatrick and the SDLP for South Belfast opposes the expansion of Sprucefield?
“The SDLP position on Newry is in marked contrast to its position in relation to Belfast over Sprucefield or that which it took recently 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.
“What some politicians need to understand is that short-term decision-making has long-term consequences and not all development is good development - if its alleged benefits lead to job displacement or losses. It's nonsense to say that the proposed development if granted will remain with one major retailer on site - look at how retail works - large retailers often need other retailers close by - it's called parasite retail.
“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," Mr Kelly said.
Following a Sinn Féin motion at a meeting of the Council on Thursday evening, it was decided to issue a letter to Mr Durkan stating that the project does not have the Council's support.
Speaking after the vote Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy said: "As I have stated previously Sinn Féin is against this massive out of town retail development which will draw business from our town centre. The SDLP in their election manifesto have purported to favour town centre development. There is now an opportunity for Mark Durkan to re-examine his earlier decision and to withdraw planning permission."
A spokesperson from Newry Chamber added: "Newry Chamber of Commerce welcomes the outcome of Newry and Mourne District Council's vote to oppose Minister Mark Durkan's decision on granting planning permission for an out of town development at Carnbane.
“This is a very important step along the road to get this disastrous decision overturned. The proposed development would have devastating consequences for the future vitality and vibrancy of the city centre."

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