New store and 100 jobs in pipeline

A major new chain store is on its way to Lurgan and could bring 100 jobs to the town, a local councillor has said.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 12:15 pm
Updated Friday, 7th August 2020, 12:28 pm

The application, lodged by applicant Inaltus Ltd on behalf of Curly Properties Ltd is for a retail development with car parking, landscaping, access and associated site works developed at vacant lands north of Millennium Way, Lurgan.

Originally submitted in 2018 the planning proposal has been recommended for approval by Council’s planning officers and will, if approved, see Home Bargains arrive in town.

Speaking in support of the application, Councillor Joe Nelson said it would bring “significant economic benefits… including some 100 new jobs” to Lurgan.

“I believe the site location is ideal for this development as it provides adequate car parking in situ and is located on Millenium Way which is in fact the relief road for Lurgan Town Centre,” say the SDLP councillor.

“Bringing this development to the town while keeping the town centre free from extra congestion is the ideal position.

“I strongly support these proposals and trust that the material considerations, associated with the economic and other benefits of the scheme, will be considered in detail by the Council planners.”

Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley has expressed “strong support” for the application.

“The proposals will see the delivery of a Home Bargains store for Lurgan along with significant economic benefits including a multi-million pound investment into the local economy and the creation of some 100 new jobs,” said the DUP MLA

“At a time when many people are losing their jobs and many businesses are having to close, proposal such as this, where successful major retailing businesses are willing to commit to Lurgan, the Council must give very serious consideration to these proposals.”

However, an independent review of the application by Tom Stokes Associated (TSA) Planning expressed concerns that rather than support the town centre, the application, if approved, is “more likely to create an alternative retail destination to the town centre”.

The report said that with 73 per cent of the Lurgan town centre’s turnover allocated to just two stores, the remaining smaller convenience stores in Lurgan could be “vulnerable to impact” by the approval of this application.

The review also suggested that the proposal would be better suited to the former Tesco site in Castle Lane as it is “a key regeneration site in the town centre”.

However, in response to this, the application’s agent, Inaltus Ltd, said: “If this site did not suit Tesco’s servicing requirements, there are no grounds for TSA to suggest it will suit Home Bargains.”

In conclusion Inaltus Ltd’s response to TSA assessment states that whilst some aspects of the TSA Review can be agreed “other aspects are illogical and do not form a sound basis to refuse the proposal on”.

It also notes that no objections have been lodged in over 18 months and called for the application to be brought before Council’s planning committee.

The application is now set to appear before Wednesday’s (August 12) meeting of the planning committee, with officer’s recommending that the application is approved.

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