Today's Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Planning Committee have deferred a decision on whether to accept or not planners recommendation that permision be refused for a retail park on the old Customs Clearance Station site at Carnbane Way in Newry. The decision has now been moved to the November Planning meeting.

It follows a statement released jointly by Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade and Newry BID this week in which they supported planners recommendation to reject the application claiming that Newry isn't large enough for two city centres'.

The site of the proposed development at Carnbane Way. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
The site of the proposed development at Carnbane Way. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

In recent weeks existing derelict buildings on the site have been removed and the site levelled.

 Damolly Developments applied for planning permission in early 2017 to develop the seven hectare site with plans for 11 retail units from 991sqm to 2830sqm, 4 restaurant and cafe units or 250 and 325sqm with the provision of 878 car parking spaces.

In their application they detailed how their Newry City Retail Park had the potential to contribute £29M annually to the local economy.

Planners who recommended refusal quoted the Banbridge, Newry and Mourne Area Plan 2015 (BNMAP) noting that the the site was outside the Plan's City Centre and Primary Retail Core Boundary.

They also stated "The proposal involves 12,106 sq m of unrestricted net retail floorspace which amounts to 31% of the total city existing floorspace of 39.300 sq m. It is clear that the approval of this level of unrestricted floorspace would have a significantly adverse effect on the existing city centre in terms of trade and turnover and other existing centres"

A planning application for the site was made as far back as 2009 for a foodstore as well as 70 light industrial/ business units and residential properties.

Planning approval was granted for this eventually in 2014 but a condition required a block of industrial units to be completed and available for occupation prior to the opening of the store. The industrial units are proposed in the current application.

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