Retail NI has slammed Antrim & Newtownabbey Planning Committee’s decision tonight to grant permission for a 70,000sqft ASDA out-of-town superstore on existing industrial/employment land in the Monkstown Industrial Estate.
Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:
“This is a kick in the teeth for local independent retailers struggling with the pandemic and is a clear breach of the town centre first retail planning policy”
“It is a shameful decision based upon exaggerated claims of new jobs being created and completely ignored the concerns of local independent retailers and small businesses”
“As we have seen before with countless other out-of-town superstores, these always destroy and displace existing town centre retail jobs. Newtownabbey has a distinctive retail environment with a significant number of local neighbourhood retailers who are the life blood of the community.”
‘Out-of-town retail development, due to poor historical planning decisions, is the main reason Northern Ireland has the highest town centre retail vacancy rate in the UK. Given that our high streets are facing a very uncertain future, granting permission for another out-of-town superstore is the very last thing they need”
“ASDA accept that 90% of the proposed store income will be diverted from existing large and small food stores within the Newtownabbey area, so the alleged employment benefits will simply result in the displacement of existing retail jobs. Local shops reduce the need for travel and promote social interaction for the elderly members of the community; they are the life blood of neighbourhoods and must be robustly protected”