Planning Portal

Attwood announces decisions on two major retail applications in Dundonald and Newtownards

Published on Fri, 7 Jun 2013 by
Environment Minister Alex Attwood today announced planning decisions on two major retail applications in County Down.
The Minister has granted planning permission for Sainsbury’s on the former Rolls Royce factory site in Dundonald. He has refused planning permission for an Asda store at the former Scrabo High School in Newtownards.

The Dundonald proposal is for a 9,400sqm foodstore and petrol filling station for Sainsbury’s Supermarkets as well as 4,000sqm of light industrial units and 4,400sqm of storage and distribution units.

The Newtownards proposal includes a 7,517sqm foodstore for Asda Stores, a petrol filling station, three bulky comparison retail units and a park-and-ride facility.

Alex Attwood said: “I am today announcing two further retail decisions – one approval and one refusal. Retail decisions are some of the most demanding in the planning system. It is no less on this occasion.

“The Dundonald proposal will bring a boost for the construction industry and the local area. This will generate construction jobs in the short term, jobs in the food store with more jobs in the industrial units when fully built and operational. The local area suffers significantly in terms of unemployment – the multiple job opportunities through a multi use site has attraction. I have placed a planning condition to build a number of industrial units with the foodstore with further units to be built once the first phase is sold or leased.

“This was a difficult decision. I have been robust in support of edge-of-town/in-town retail. I will continue to do so. In this particular case I am persuaded by the arguments advanced regarding the economic advantages that the overall scheme will bring.”

The Minister continued: “I am refusing the Newtownards proposal because of the impact on Newtownards town centre and Dundonald local centre, the availability of a clear alternative site and because I am not persuaded by any wider economic arguments. The proposal involves the replacement of the existing Asda store within Ards Shopping Centre with an enlarged stand alone superstore. This would just largely displace existing jobs.

“I have previously given permission for a major extension to Ards Shopping Centre which is a long established shopping centre at the edge of the town. I consider there is scope for Asda to assess their options for expansion on this existing site. This is a clearly viable alternative which would have less of an impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre.”

These are two further “Article 31” (major planning applications) decisions. Of those Article 31 applications the Minister inherited two years ago, two thirds have been decided with a potential surge of further decisions before the end of June. Whether it is acceptance or refusal, these decisions bring clarity and certainty for all involved.

Notes to editors:

1. Planning application Y/2010/0087/O was submitted to DOE on 5 March 2010 by Sainsbury's Supermarket Ltd & Lagmar Properties Ltd. The application was for demolition of existing buildings and structures and the construction of a retail store (Class A1); Petrol Filling Station (sui generis); industrial units (Class B2 and B4); and associated highway, footpaths, landscaping and other works and improvements on lands at the former Rolls Royce factory, Upper Newtownards Road/Carrowreagh Road, Dundonald.

2. Planning application X/2010/0819/F was submitted to DOE on 2 November 2010 by JHT Newtownards Ltd and Asda Stores Ltd. The application was for full planning permission for redevelopment of site to provide a foodstore (4,077 sq metres net), petrol filling station, ancillary non-food retail floorspace, associated car parking, a park-and-ride facility, landscaping and associated works on lands on the former Scrabo High School site, Scrabo Road, Newtownards.

3. The Department received seven letters of objection and eight letters of support to the Dundonald application.

4. The Department received eight letters of objection, one letter of representation, 10 letters of support and one petition of support to the Newtownards application.

5. The applications were designated of major importance under Article 31 of the Planning (NI) Order.

6. The applications were dealt with by the Department of Environment’s Strategic Planning Division.

7. For media enquiries contact DOE Press Office Tel. 028 90256058 or out of office hours call the EIS Duty Press Officer on 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.

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