John Lewis withdraw planning application for store at Sprucefield

01 February 2013

John Lewis have withdrawn their planning application for a new store at Sprucefield and plan to review this decision when the Executive have clarified the planning policy.

Northern Ireland looks set to miss out on 1,500 retail jobs and over £150 million in investment with the announcement by the retail giant John Lewis that it will withdraw its planning application for a department store at Sprucefield, near Lisburn.

The consortium have cited the controversial decision of Minister Alex Attwood to limit further development in the area to “bulky goods” (such as furniture and white goods) as the reason for withdrawing their application.

First Minister Peter Robinson said the issue of retail policy was "a matter for the whole of the executive to take a decision on, and not just for one minister".

A planning application for the 500,000 sq ft development was first made in 2004 and for the past nine years John Lewis have maintained that Sprucefield is the only suitable location in Northern Ireland to develop a new full line department store.  The consortium have reiterated its continuing interest and have confirmed they will review their position once the executive have clarified the planning policy.

The proposal has been met with opposition from rival landlords and has faced a series of legal challenges from Lisburn traders concerned about the consequences for city centre shopping.

Celia Worthington, Senior Partner and head of the Commercial property department regularly advises our business and Commercial clients and whether you are starting a new business, buying or selling an existing one, taking on a franchise, or considering buying or selling commercial property, Worthingtons Solicitors offer specialist legal advice to suit your needs. 

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